Nigeria To Boost Investment In Methanol As Global Energy Transition Beckons 

Yemisi Izuora

Nigeria, is implementing efforts to prepare its economy for a post-oil era, and is promoting investment in Methanol.

Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, said during the week that government is introducing methanol into the economy and reduce gas flaring by using the natural gas as a feedstock for methanol production.

Oil and gas sector accounts for about 10 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to estimates by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.

Nigeria’s revenue from petroleum exports represents around 86 per cent of the country’s total exports revenue.

From indication, Nigeria has no plans to drop oil and gas exploration or to stop trying to attract investments in its most important revenue stream, despite suggestion by the International Energy Agency (IEA), last week that no new investments in oil and gas are necessary if the world wants to get on a track to net-zero emissions by 2050.

In spite of the warning the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) endorsed a deal with international oil majors Shell, Exxon, Total, and Eni to develop an offshore oil block that includes the deepwater Bonga field. The deal marks a historic moment as it settles long-running disputes between the Nigerian government and international oil companies, the NNPC noted.

Despite bearish oil demand forecasts over the long term, Nigeria has serious ambitions in expanding its oil industry. More than 100 oil and gas projects are set to launch over the next five years including 25 upstream oil and gas projects, 28 petrochemical projects, and 24 refinery projects, in the country.

The Bonga field is among the 25 upstream projects, and is expected to start commercial production in 2025.

The Minister, “We have virtually concluded consultations with relevant stakeholders within the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government as it concerns Nanotechnology. We find nanotechnology to have applications in virtually all other technologies, including space, artificial intelligence and robotics as it concerns improved productivity and reduction in size and cost.”

Onu further added that the Federal Government was determined to improve funding of Science, Technology and Innovation. He said; “Mr. President announced that 0.5% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will now be used to fund STI in the country, though the African Union (AU), recommended 1% of GDP to be utilized for Science and Technology in all countries of the continent, the 0.5% is an improvement over what we had in the past.

He stressed that efforts are on ground, to ensure that Nigeria is prepared for a post crude oil era. He added that Nigeria has 187 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and has the highest natural gas reserves in the world and 9th highest in the world.

Onu said that the Ministry of Science and Technology is introducing Methanol to the nation’s economy, as it can be used to produce as many as 1000 different products that can be used in our homes, schools, offices, hospitals, farms and factories.

He said; “The production of methanol will help us to stop gas flaring in the country. Since natural gas is the major feedstock for its production, this will increase the demand for natural gas and hence initially reduce and finally help stop gas flaring in the country”.

The Minister added that Methanol fuel technology will be fully domesticated in the country and that Nigerian professionals can fully grasp the technology and be in a position to export the technology to other countries in the near future.

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