(Ecofin Agency) - The Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu (photo), has announced that the country plans to establish an independent agency to control the gas industry.
According to the Minister, the government would continue to be the policy maker but the new independent petroleum regulatory authority would be created and provided with adequate capacity to regulate the industry.
He explained that the new agency would cover the activities of the current petroleum regulatory authorities as well as new responsibilities.
“It will be responsible for the economic, competition, technical, and safety regulation of the gas sector and shall have licensing, investigative, monitoring and dispute resolution powers,” he said not disclosing when the new regulator would be set up.
Nigeria which has the world's ninth-largest proven gas reserves, at 187 trillion cubic feet (tcf), has lost half of it to flaring and re-injection. In the past few months the country has witnessed gas shortages due to militant attacks on gas and oil installations in the southern Niger Delta oil region.
Kachikwu added that most of the investment needed to fix the gas industry would be gathered from the private sector.
The managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, said the state energy company requires $51 billion of investment in the midstream and downstream gas sector, of which $35.4 billion would be needed in areas including gas exploration and production activities, power plant projects and fertilizer plants, and another $16 billion investment would also be needed for infrastructure development, port infrastructure and gas transmission.