The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has described the country’s gas expansion programme as a highway to economic prosperity and development.
Sylva said this when he featured on NAN Forum, the flagship interview programme of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), to highlight the achievements recorded in the oil and gas sector since he assumed office about two years ago.
He noted that the Federal Government embraced the gas expansion programme having realised that the country had abundant gas resources and that there was a need to focus on it as a bridge to renewable fuels.
“Last year we declared 2020 the year of gas because we realised that we need to focus on gas as a bridge to renewable fuels and we have abundant gas resources, so we need to take advantage of it,” he said.
According to him, the Federal Government is now paying greater attention to gas development because it provides a bigger linkage to the economy than crude oil.
“Gas is produced and it can be transformed to fertiliser and fertiliser can fertilise our agricultural sector.
“Also, the gas that is produced can be transformed into petrochemicals, and petrochemicals can be transformed into everything that we need in life including the plastic on the camera, phones, even the clothes we wear.
“Petrochemicals come from gas, and gas can be transformed to methanol, and this is the basis of chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
“So you can imagine if we harness our gas resources and do a fertiliser blending plant based on gas, then produce the fertilisers and send them to the farmers.
“And you can imagine if all the farmers in Nigeria have access to cheap fertiliser what it would do for our agriculture without anybody doing anything else,” Sylva said.
The minister noted that employment generation from gas alone is immeasurable going by the number of people that would be affected in the value chain.
Sylva also said: “If you have gas and produce petrochemicals with it, from petrochemicals you produce raisins, power the textile and electricity industry or all kinds of industries, you can imagine the number of job opportunities we can create.
“Thereafter, we can use the gas to power the country.
“We have this kind of resource and we have not even scratched it and then how can we move away from it? Let us face the benefit that is in gas to develop as a country.
“I believe that if we are talking about diversifying Nigeria’s economy, gas is the option, if we go gas, we can use it to diversify the economy faster than any other commodity and fortunately we have it in abundance than any other commodity.
“That is why we are saying, dedicate the next decade to this commodity we have in abundance so that we can use it to catalyse the industrial development of Nigeria.
“That is the whole idea of the decade of gas which the president is championing.”