Interview With The Hon. Commissioner For Energy, Lagos State: Mr Taofiq Tijani

Taofiq Tijani

Taofiq TijaniAmidst the various energy related activities currently taking place in Lagos State, Energy Mix Report recently caught up with the Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources; Mr. Taofiq Tijani to help shed more light on these various activities.

 

The Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources only came into existence as recently as July 2011; could you please give us the functions of this relatively young ministry?

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources was formerly the Office of the Special Adviser on Mineral Resources Development and it was officially created by the Lagos State Government in July 2011 in a move which was aimed at developing the State’s capacity to attend to the energy needs of the Lagos populace and to also explore the hydrocarbon, oil and gas potentials as well as other mineral resources of the State. The function of the Ministry in the medium to long term include developing and implementing a comprehensive energy policy for Lagos State that will support the State’s overall socio-economic development plans, job creation and revenue generation. The key objective of this policy is aimed at positioning Lagos as a leader in energy sufficiency and energy security through Private Public Partnership. The policy guidelines will also contain appropriate strategies for the development of both conventional and renewable power solutions, diversification of fuel usage, gas supply, petroleum products strategic reserves and infrastructure monitoring. This also means engaging with Federal Government on energy related issues such as the power sector reform, gas master plan, gas revolution and also the oil industry reform.

 

What minerals or natural resources asides from oil is Lagos State abundant in?

Lagos is blessed with several natural resources. For instance we have silica or glass sand in areas such as Badagry, Ikorodu and Epe; clay in Ikorodu and Epe; gravel, sharp sand and laterite at Epe, bitumen at Ibeju Lekki, limestone in moderate amounts in areas such as Itoikin, Eredo-Epe, Emuren and also a recent geological mapping project showed some shale gas or shale play at Ibeshe through Victoria Garden City to Sangotedo. Although it must be added that this was not in any commercial quantities.

 

What plans does Lagos State have in terms of the development of these natural resources? 

Well we have several plans in the works for these resources; for instance we have plans to establish a world class geo-science laboratory in partnership with foreign companies. We’re also trying to create an enabling environment for investors in Lagos State by improving the power sector as well as social amenities such as roads etc. The State has already invested heavily in the geological investigation of these minerals in an attempt to increase the data base available on these minerals for would be investors. For silica sand and clay in particular, Lagos State plans to develop these minerals through the use of compact technology which will enable small scale enterprises to take advantage of the opportunity for investment purposes. The expected end products include glass and ceramics respectively. Also, for the traces of shale gas discovered, this unconventional hydrocarbon resource will boost the economy of the State in the long run if it is harnessed properly and adequately through the effective collaboration with the relevant Federal agencies.

 

What is the current situation of the Lagos State Independent Power Plants (IPPs) aimed at increasing power generation in the state?

With respect to the independent power plants initiated by Lagos State, it is essential to clarify that the IPPs are designed to provide adequate and reliable power supply to government facilities. This by extension will lead to increased power supply within the State by taking State facilities off grid, thereby augmenting power supply available to Lagosians. As a result, in its quest to increase the number of grid-independent government facilities, the State has completed two operational gas fired independent power projects namely; the 12.15 MW Akute independent power project supplying the Akute water works and other adjoining facilities within the location and also the 10 MW Island independent power project. The 10MW Alausa independent power project has also recently been completed in conjunction with Oando and has commenced operation. It is aimed at supplying the Alausa Secretariat and other government facilities in its environs.

 

What are the major challenges facing this ministry in terms of ensuring that Lagos State has adequate power supply for its ever increasing population?

With respect to challenges facing the Ministry in terms of ensuring that Lagos State has power for its ever increasing population, it needs to be stated that electricity generation and supply is in the exclusive list in the Nigerian Constitution, so that is a limiting factor for us. As a result, the State is continually exploring avenues to work with the Federal Government to ensure that power generation is increased through captive and embedded operation. Also, it is my hope that the recent privatisation of the PHCN assets will have a positive impact on the Lagos populace.

 

How do Lagos State and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources feel about the recent discovery of oil in the state by the Lekoil/Afren consortium?

We, at the Ministry have always been aware of the fact that offshore Lagos has the potential of becoming an oil producing region like the Niger Delta, if enough exploration and exploitation activities are undertaken. So it’s not exactly news to us that the consortium struck oil, we are however excited at the potential prospects of this discovery.

 

From the current information at your disposal, do you feel that this discovery will yield commercial amounts of oil?

According to the reports we have received, the estimations from the Ogo 1 well located in OPL 310, offshore Lagos by the Afren/Lekoil Consortium has surpassed pre drill expectations at the end of on-going evaluations. Based on the well data, the partners estimate the P50 to P10 gross recoverable resources range to be significantly ahead of pre-drill expectations at say between 774 to 1,180 mmboe, which is commendable and commercially in order I think.

 

How does this discovery differ from that of the 1996 Aje field discovery in OML 113?

Unlike Aje in OML 113 which is predominantly a gas and condensate field, estimated at about 380 mmboe, the Ogo-1 well in OPL 310 contains significant light oil accumulation.

 

What are the economic and financial implications of this discovery for Lagos State?

The discovery of oil at the Ogo-1 well definitely gives us hope of a huge economic boost for the State with particular regard to the possibility of more investments as well as potential revenue accruable to the State. It will also serve as a boost for the nation’s oil reserves as a whole.

 

Will Lagos demand for derivation like other oil producing states?

I believe that when the well is put on stream and production begins, then Lagos certainly will become an oil producing State and as such we will definitely attempt to seek derivation like other oil producing States are doing in the country.

 

We are still waiting for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill at the federal level, will there be any similar petroleum legislation passed at the state level in light of this new discovery?

Petroleum matters are strictly on the exclusive legislative list of the Federal Government. So no, I don’t believe there are any plans of enacting any similar legislation in Lagos State. However, I can categorically tell you that the portions of that bill that affects State Governments in any way will be jealously guarded in the best interest of the citizens of Lagos State.

 

Speaking of petroleum legislations, an oil and gas bill was recently passed setting up Ibile Oil and Gas Corporation. What are this organization’s functions and how will it interact with other players in the Nigerian oil and gas industry?

Ibile Oil and Gas Corporation is a special purpose vehicle that will represent the State’s interests in relation to oil and gas matters. It will be granted the power to engage in all oil and gas upstream activities, including exploration, drilling and production, it will also have the capacity to invest in a company or consortium for the purpose of participating in oil and gas bid rounds and seeking marginal field allocations. It will also have the capacity to acquire old or new exploration and drilling prospects and prospecting abandoned wells anywhere in Nigeria or overseas. Furthermore, it will serve to optimize the benefits of the petroleum policies of the Federal Government. And finally it will be able to acquire gas volumes and other supplies for the State as may be considered appropriate.

 

Lagos State recently had an energy conservation campaign spearheaded by the Governor and also the artist M.I. Could you please elaborate on what the campaign hopes to achieve?

The main aim of the campaign is to call on Lagosians to embrace a conservative culture in the use of public utilities such as electricity and water. It generally says that we should switch off sockets or light switches that are not currently in use, and save it for future usage. The same goes for closing water taps to avoid wastage. By doing so, we save money and we save power for future usage. That’s purely the essence of the campaign.

 

Lagos State is also big on the drive for the usage of LPG as opposed to other sources such as kerosene. Do you feel the government’s aim to ensure LPG usage by most of the populace is achievable?

Yes I do. The aim of ensuring LPG usage by most of the populace is achievable, going by the enormous advantages that are in the use of LPG in comparison to kerosene stoves or firewood. To make the program a success, the State and private investors have started deploying LPG skid plants across the State to bring the product closer to the people. Also, Lagos State Government is distributing free cylinder stoves filled with gas to the populace to bridge the entering cost by rural dwellers. So to a large extent, the State is determined to ensure that the scheme is successful.

 

What is the current state of the development of the Lekki Sea Port and how will that impact on downstream activities in the State?

The Lekki Sea Port development is on-going and it is expected to serve the needs of a vast number of investors in the Lekki Free Zone in due course. Furthermore, the port will be highly prospective for the distribution of petroleum products and the evacuation of related cargoes, relieving the Apapa sea ports from its present gridlock.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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