Nigeria sees $ 12 bn gas income by 2009
Nigeria could earn about $ 12 bn annually from natural gas exports by 2009 when projects designed to end the burning
of gas associated with oil extraction come on stream, the presidency said.
"Nigeria is really more of a gas nation than an oil nation," President Olusegun Obasanjo told a parliamentary committee on natural gas resources, according to a presidency statement. "It is currently estimated that by 2009, Nigeria will be earning about $ 12 bn per annum from exports of natural gas," the statement added.
Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, has been keen to promote gas projects like new power and Liquefied Natural
Gas (LNG) plants as part of a strategy to end gas flaring by 2008. The OPEC member, which hopes to eventually earn as
much from gas as it does from oil, has set itself a target to become the world's biggest exporter of LNG in the next
The world's eighth biggest oil exporter has proven gas reserves estimated at 4.474 tcm, representing one third of Africa's total gas stock.
Due to a lack of infrastructure to use or export gas, Nigeria flares, or burns off, about 2.7 mm cf daily, or about
40 % of gas output. Many flares burn around the clock in the Niger Delta, close to impoverished villages with no
Obasanjo urged lawmakers to speedily pass bills pending in the national assembly to establish a functional framework for the development of Nigeria's natural gas reserves. Obasanjo said Nigeria has substantially cut losses from gas flares estimated at $ 2.5 bn in 2002 due to some measures introduced by the government to extinguish gas flares.
Nigeria's biggest oil operator Royal Dutch Shell said last year it would miss a 2008 deadline to end flaring because
the government had not provided funding to a joint-venture project that was installing gas-gathering
Environmental campaigners say gas flares endanger the health of people who live nearby and respiratory diseases such as asthma are rife in Niger Delta communities affected by flaring.