An indigenous natural gas distribution company, Falcon Petroleum Limited, has said that expansion into the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry is a possibility that is not unrealisable by it.
The Managing Director of the company, Prof. Joseph Ezigbo, in an interview with our correspondent, said the company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an exploration company for distribution of Natural Gas to industries in Enugu State.
Though he said Falcon would begin gas distribution in Enugu between the end of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, Ezigbo disclosed that the agreement would most likely lead to a participation in exploration of a gas production well in the state.
He said, “We signed an MOU recently with our partners in Enugu to take gas but the discussion is also hovering around participating in drilling a well. This is because the company has only drilled one well, which has enough gas with about 1.5 million to 3 million standard cubic feet per day and this will last for about 20 years.
“The well has been drilled and capped. If all goes well, we will slowly hitch our way into upstream. The movement to marginal fields will of course flow in naturally.”
The Falcon boss further said that the company would go public in a couple of years’ time by listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“We are hoping to make a mark in the Nigerian economy. We also hope that in the next couple of years, we will be able to go public by listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange,” he said.
Ezigbo, in more specific terms, said the company hoped to have listed on the NSE in the next five years; adding that it was also targeting a five-fold within the same period.
He lamented the under-utilisation of gas in Nigeria amid an under-developed domestic market, non-availability of gas-based industries and inadequate gas pipelines, among others.
He particularly berated government for failing to drive the utilisation of gas by industries in the country.
He said, “Go to Anambra alone, we have 128 industries that are dying to use gas to power their operations. They work today; tomorrow they don’t work because there is no power. Go to Lagos, we have gas in Lagos, Agbara, Ota, Shagamu, Abeokuta and Ogijo, among others, but the industries don’t see gas.
“The infrastructure will flow in there if there is openness and a level-playing ground for everybody to take the gas there. What will it take to take gas to these places? It will not cost the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, International Oil Corporations and Nigerian Gas Company a dime to take gas there.”
Ezigbo had condemned the level of gas flaring in the country, saying it was nothing but criminal for gas worth $2.2bn annually in Nigeria.
He said, “You cannot say the Nigerian gas resource is under-developed; the truth is that it is not developed. As we speak, this country flares close to $2.2bn every year and this, for me, is criminal.
“Both the government and the IoCs are to blame. There is no reason why this country should be flaring that volume of gas. It doesn’t make sense.”
Information from Punch was used in this report.