Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday in the capital city of Abuja that with the full implementation of his administration’s gas master-plan, the country would become the undisputed regional hub for gas-related industries within the next three years.
According to a news release issued by the Presidency, Jonathan made the assurance at the formal launching of the plan which would mark the beginning of the end of gas flaring in the country.
The President said the full implementation of the entire gas master-plan agenda would result in about US$ 25 billion worth of investments in gas processing, transmission and downstream gas utilization projects.
He said: “Beyond the quantum of foreign direct investment, the economic impact of this agenda will be enormous. In terms of employment and wealth creation, we estimate that over 100,000 engineering design and construction related jobs will be created from about 2012 and beyond to deliver all these plants.
“The strategy we have adopted for the fertilizer project means that we can expect a significant increase in employment from the agricultural sector. In total, this initiative will result in over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs from construction, logistics, hotels and hospitality services, fabrication, banking and above all, agriculture.”
The news release said a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Xenel and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Nagarjuna, NNPC and Chevron was also signed at the occasion, where the award of a Central Franchise Area (CPF) to OANDO and AGIP was also announced.
Under a public-private sector partnership arrangement, the three-fold gas industrialization agenda will elevate Nigeria beyond current gas to power initiatives, involving the establishment of a Central Processing Facility in Oviakwu, Rivers State; a Mega Petrochemical Plant; and two Fertilizer Plants to be sited in Lagos and Delta States.
“This agenda sets the tone for the final elimination of gas flaring in Nigeria as the markets created provide a sink for all currently flared gas. Today’s event marks the beginning of what I believe will be a fulfilling journey towards the restoration of Nigeria into the league of nations which have successfully leveraged on the advantage derivable from the abundance of natural gas to positively impact on the lives of present and future generations of our citizens,” he told the gathering.
The President said the new gas industrialization initiatives would have a far-reaching secondary multiplier effect on the economy in terms of employment and wealth creation as a result of numerous secondary industries that will spring up, while assuring of full application of National Content Law to projects in the master plan.
“We can only be truly successful if our actions impact on the common man in Nigeria. The initiatives provide a platform for full application of our National Content Law. A significant portion of the jobs created will be for Nigerians and when we are done, our youths can clearly see the roadmap to engagement and self-worth as they get gainfully employed,” the President said.
He commended investors from Saudi Arabia, India, Italy and the United States, as well as Nigeria, who have signed on as stakeholders in the implementation of the Nigerian Gas Revolution.
“Your decision to invest in Nigeria testifies to the confidence you have in our vision and the faith you have in our country. I assure you that as you have taken the bold step to invest in our economy, the Federal Government will be unstinting in its support for you, every step of the way. Your commitment will no doubt serve as a challenge to other investors elsewhere, letting them know that Nigeria is indeed open and ready for business,” Jonathan assured.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani Allison Madueke said the gas revolution would be championed along three critical investment areas.
“We see huge opportunities being created across all levels as a result of this initative. However, the symbolism of today lies not only in the declaration of Mr. President’s vision, but also in the confirmation that it is moving from vision to reality,” she said.
In his remarks, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr. Austin Oniwon, said the accelerated implementation of the gas master-plan set in motion by the President had created a platform for the next wave of economic growth in Nigeria, adding that “the vision of Mr. President creates a future not just for Nigeria as a whole, but also for NNPC.”