The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) says a stable policy for the oil and gas sector will boost investment and hasten the economic diversification programme of the Federal Government.
Mr Chikezie Nwosu, the Chairman, SPE Nigeria Council, made the suggestion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday.
Nwosu said creating an enabling business environment would attract more investors to the industry.
According to him, it is expected that all the four aspects of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) should be passed by the National Assembly in 2018 and assented to by the President before the 2019 elections.
“If the right policy is in place, 2019 should be the year for the oil and gas industry to attain a gas production of over 20 billion standard cubic feet per day.
“In 2019, oil production should be over four million barrels per day; reserves growth in oil should exceed 40 billion barrels.
“Conversion of a significant part of the estimated 600 trillion standard cubic feet of prospective gas resources should be for contingent resources and reserves.
“The exponential growth in the refining capacity will lead to less reliance on subsidies on imported products, within a decade.
“These are not impossible goals, but we must start now, as we are running out of time,” Nwosu said.
According to him, long-term growth in investments will only come when Nigeria has a stable investment climate.
“Nigeria should increase its revenues from other sources using oil and gas as enabler, especially gas to power.
“The national gas policy can open the vast opportunities to deliver energy and earn significant revenue from our abundant gas resources.
“We are the regional giant in gas, and the entire West African (possibly Sub-Saharan Africa) region will boom if Nigeria gets it right.
“With our population, a booming West African region will create huge opportunities in just about any industry. Think India and China,” he said.
He said sufficient energy was critical for the diversification of the Nigerian economy, whether in the manufacturing space, in agriculture, transportation, health services, education, aviation, among others.
He said the society would collaborate with the government on technology diversification of the oil and gas industry.
“We have the technology; we have talented human capital grown from the grassroots.
“We truly believe that without professional organisations such as ours to help shape and implement policy, government will struggle to reap the full benefits of these God given resources,” he said