Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu says the country is currently going through a full-blown energy crisis that could linger for a long time if it fails to articulate a sound policy framework that focuses intensely on its gas sector.

Kachikwu, who stated this Monday in his ministerial address at the 11th edition of the international conference and exhibition organized by the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) in Abuja explained the country’s continued dependence on oil alone to run her economy was hurting the country and it would need to quickly refocus attention on her abundant gas resources.

Represented by his Senior Technical Adviser on Upstream and Gas, Mr. Gbite Adeniji, Kachikwu explained Nigeria no longer enjoys priority attention from oil and gas investors as southern and eastern African countries now compete with her especially for investments in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

The Minister’s disclosure comes at a time the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) revealed that the country’s effort to build a transnational gas pipeline with Morocco was gaining momentum with plans to sign the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) contract for the project soon..

“Secondly, there is a much more constrained international environment with the mounting new LNG suppliers coming on stream globally, and Nigeria is competing for investment with southern and eastern Africa.

“Prices of oil are forecast to fall after 2030, and stay low for a long period after that with a possibility of absolute fall in demand for oil and a related impact on price of gas,” the Minister noted.

He added: “Then, there is the challenging domestic environment with security of supply risks; the sector governance and business environment issues. We could add more to these headwinds based on the recent reports of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the World Bank and IMF which have made it their business to track our micro economics.

“Based on these headwinds, Nigeria has a challenging future and must therefore broaden its economy beyond oil hence the thrust of the gas policy is that we need to refocus our economy using the comparative advantage of our gas towards achieving gas-based industrialization.”