The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday said the country was looking beyond the Niger Delta in its effort to find alternative source for gas supply.
Mr Kachikwu disclosed this at a breakout session at the ongoing Nigerian Gas Association 11th International Conference and Exhibition in Abuja.
The minister was represented by his technical adviser, upstream and gas, Gbite Adeniji.
He said that the federal government was serious about taking gas to the Northern region of the country, through the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano( AKK) gas pipeline project, so as to address the huge economic challenges witnessed in the region.
The minister stated that the country could no longer tolerate a situation where 11 power plants across the country would be forced to shut down, once there was disruption in gas supply through the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS).
“As a government, you want to ensure that you have robustness in supply sources and robustness on delivery system. The position we have taken is that we have to look at as many options as possible in terms of supply sources.
“Today, we are very dependent on gas supply from the Niger Delta. The policy position is that we have to look at other terrains to see what is possible. We have discovered huge amount of gas resources in the offshore.
“Hence, the statement made earlier on that we must ensure that by the end of this quarter, we settle the issues of the contractual framework that would help us unlock those gas resources, so that we have optionality.
“It just does not do well that once the ELPS goes down, 11 power plants and many industrial enterprises also go down with it. That is not the system. A huge part of investment in there, but the reality of our life in Nigeria is that it goes down with them. The planning is that we have to create options to the ELPS for Lagos.”
Mr Kachikwu listed the strategic importance of the AKK pipeline project