The Ministry of Petroleum Resources, through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) recently launched the Nigerian Gas Transportation Network Code (NGTNC or “the Network Code”) aimed at opening access, and enhance availability and affordability of domestic gas for Nigerians. The Network Code, which became effective on 10 February 2020, is a set of rules and contractual framework established by the government to be observed by gas producers and transporters. Its provisions allow a six-month window for legacy agreements to migrate into the Network Code, while new and intending agreements are to align with the new Code.

The NGTNC is designed to govern the operations between the network operator(s) and users  of the gas transportation system (including all existing and future gas pipelines) in Nigeria. It will serve as an important negotiation component for gas business and transactions in the Nigerian domestic gas market. Some key objectives of the Network Code are to:

  • ensure fair and non-discriminatory access to the
    gas network;
  • promote gas trading; and
  • Deepen domestic gas penetration in-country.

The Federal Government of Nigeria announced on 30 June that the construction of the 614km gas pipeline had begun.

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), both affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, see the development as an opportunity to create decent jobs and reduce the high levels of unemployment. According to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment is over 23 per cent or 21 million unemployed, and underemployment is 20.1 per cent or 18 million. The underemployed are those who work less than 40 hours a week.

The government and the state-owned enterprise, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, said the pipeline will provide gas for power generation and stimulate the creation of new industries in the towns of Kogi, Niger, Kaduna, and Abuja. It is hoped that the new industries will create thousands of local jobs, transfer technology and promote local manufacturing. The pipeline will also benefit existing industries that rely on gas.

The construction is being carried out as part of China’s new Silk Road, where energy investments supported by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which Nigeria joined in 2019. Through this initiative, the Bank of China and Sinosure (China Export Credit Agency) will finance the pipeline by $2.8 billion. Chinese construction and engineering companies are contracted, and the Nigerian partner is Oilserve, an oil and gas company.

Nigeria’s current production of 7,000 megawatts falls short of the country’s electricity demands for domestic and industrial use. It is hoped that the pipeline will close the gap by adding 3,600 megawatts to the national grid. Upon completion of the project, 2.2 billion cubic feet per day of gas will be produced according to the government.

The pipeline will join the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline which will export the natural gas to Europe. With Nigeria’s oil reserves expected to last three or four decades, the huge gas deposits allow for economic diversity.

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