The Federal Government on Thursday called on the United States Government to support Nigeria with funds to develop Nigeria’s natural gas resources so as to serve as alternative source of energy for Europe.
It made the call on the heels of the war by Russia in Ukraine, which posed a threat and disruption of gas supplies from Russia to the entire Europe.
The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, disclosed this while speaking at a meeting with the US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, on the side-lines of the ongoing CERA Week, in Houston Texas.
Sylva said the collaboration between the US and Nigeria in this area would be of immense benefit to both countries as well as the entire globe.
He was quoted in a statement issued by his media aide, Horatius Egua, as saying, “It is in the interest of the global community that there is alternative supply of gas to Europe.
“The challenge for us to achieve this feat has been lack of infrastructure and we need funding to develop infrastructure for our gas and we believe that the US can provide that funding.”
The minister told Granholm that Nigeria had abundant natural gas resources that could meet European gas demands, but stressed that the problem had been access to funds.
He stated that as part of efforts to boost gas supplies across the African continent, Nigeria had embarked on the construction of a 600km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline designed to take gas to Europe via North Africa.
Sylva therefore called on the US to provide the needed funding for infrastructure for the exploitation of the huge natural gas resources in Nigeria.
“We have access to gas but access to funding has been the problem. Our desire is to be able to take gas from Nigeria through Algeria to Europe,” the minister stated.
He added, “We have already kick-started the AKK gas pipeline project and if we have the required funding we can complete that project in two years. Nigeria has over 206 trillion standard cubic feet of natural gas reserves and unproven reserves of 600TCF.
“We believe that if we target exploitation of natural gas in Nigeria, we will be able to get up to 600TCF. We need to have the needed funding to develop our gas and the US can provide us this funding.”
Sylva said the crisis between Russia and Ukraine was a wake-up call to have alternative sources of gas to Europe, adding that “in situations like this, it is always good to have alternatives. It is time to say let’s look forward.”
On her part, Granholm said the US was ready to cooperate with Nigeria to develop Nigeria’s renewable energy sector, as she stated that her government was not against the development of gas or other sources of energy.
She said, “Investors are interested in funding renewable energy in Nigeria but they are interested in knowing possible areas of focus. We have to work out a structured way to access the fund.”
In an earlier meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of State, Harry Karman, Sylva expressed Nigeria’s willingness to develop the different sources of renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydrogen.
Karman assured the minister of the US government’s readiness to support Nigeria in finding sustainable energy sources for the millions of Nigerians without access to power.
“Anywhere we can be of support we will. We will be more than happy to help. It is important that we look at countries and what energy mix that will be good for them,” he stated.
Karman added, “It has to be a mix for Nigeria and we have to do a study to determine the renewable energy source that will be good for the country.”