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Sylva: We’ve Accidentally Discovered 206trn Cubic Feet Gas Reserves

Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, on Sunday, June 27, 2021, said the country has “accidentally” discovered 206 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves while in search of crude oil.

Sylva, who disclosed this at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum on Sunday, said that the country could discover an additional 600 trillion cubic feet reserve to enable it to achieve the desired development required of a gas nation.

“We have a lot of gas in this country. We have 206 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves,” Sylva said.

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“This number is already discovered in gas reserves and this 206 trillion cubic feet reserve was found while looking for oil, so it was accidentally discovered.

“We were actually going to look for crude oil and we found gas, and in that process of accidentally finding gas, we have found up to 206 tcf.

“So, the belief is that if we really aim to look for gas dedicatedly, we will find up to 600 trillion cubic meters of gas.”

Impact of COVID on the oil sector

Sylva noted that the COVID pandemic had some positive impact on the Nigerian oil and gas sector despite its negative effect on the global economy.

He said the pandemic had forced Nigerians to take over the running of the oil and gas industry as most of the expatriates working in the sector had to travel to their countries because of the lockdown.

“They (referring to the expatriates) have to rush out so that they will be locked down in their countries, and when that happened, it means that we lost a lot of expatriate personnel,” he added.

“But the good side of COVID-19 for us is that our Nigerians were able to step into their shoes.”

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The rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Refinery

The minister said the oil-producing communities where the Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) is located are being carried along in the rehabilitation exercise.

“It is not the government that will engage directly with the communities, we are the government and we have been able to give the contract to EPC Contractors, part of the EPC Contractors’ role is engagement with communities,” he said.

He noted that the rehabilitation of the refinery was done through international tenders and that international companies responded to and that the process involved consultants.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had on April 6, signed the EPC contract with Maire Tecnimont SPA, an Italian company for the rehabilitation of the PHRC.

The need to deregulate the downstream sector

Sylva also reiterated his position on the need to deregulate the sector, adding that it is necessary for the country to move forward.

“I will say that my stand on fuel subsidy and deregulation is well known. I strongly believe that for this country to move forward, for our economy to make the progress it desires, we need to have a market-driven pricing of products,” he added.

“A situation where you produce something at a certain cost and you have to sell it at a lower cost to people because you are taking some of that burden off the people is not the best.

“It is a very desirable thing but it is also not too sustainable because what happens is that you produce it for N10, you sell it for N5; tomorrow, you produce it again at N10, you add N5 from somewhere, produce it again at N10 and sell it for another N5.

“So, the losses increase and compound on a daily basis and those accumulated losses have brought us to where we are.”

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