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Energy Resources and Energy Policy

Posted by on 2/20/2004 4:06:31 PM |


Nigeria is Africa's energy giant. It is the continent's most prolific oil- producing country, which, together with Libya, accounts for two- thirds of Africa's crude oil reserves. It ranks second to Algeria in natural gas. Most of Africa's bitumen and lignite reserves are found in this country. In its mix of conventional energy reserves, Nigeria is simply unmatched by any other country on the African continent. It is not surprising, therefore, that energy export is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. Also, primary energy resources dominate the nation's industrial raw materials endowment.

Nigeria's industrialisation depends largely on how its energy resources (oil, gas, bitumen, coal, lignite) are har- nessed either as fuel or as industrial feedstock. Over-dependence on oil is evident from the fact that oil revenue, as a percentage of the nation's total export earnings, soared from 13.5 per cent in 1956 to 96.5 per cent in 1979. Since then, crude oil production has accounted for 30 per cent of GDP and about 80 per cent of total government revenue. (ECN, 1992). With the completion of the Oso export-marketing condensate facility, and of Phase 1 of Nigeria's petrochemical project, as well as the commencement of the export of liquefied natural gas to Europe, there is no doubt that the energy sector will continue to be an important factor in the Nigerian economy for the foreseeable future.

In keeping with its policy of regional cooperation with sister African nations, Nigeria recently entered into negotiations with five West African states under the West African Gas Reserves Project. These are the Republics of Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger and Cote d'lvoire. The aim is to ensure that in the event of serious power interrup- tion in those countries, Nigeria's National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) will switch them on. Nigeria already supplies electricity to Chad Republic. Also, under the West African Gas Pipeline Project, Nigeria is to supply gas regionally.

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