The Federal Government will continue to promote the use of natural gas as an alternative to Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said.

Sylva said this at the 2021 Annual Sub-Saharan African Oil and Gas Conference, tagged ‘The future of upstream and deepwater development, advancing digitisation and gas development options in Sub-Saharan Africa’, which was organised by Energy and Corporate Africa.

In his address at the event, which was made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday, the minister said Nigeria’s proven gas reserves was approximately 206 trillion cubic feet.

He said the country was ranking among the top 10 in the world with over 600Tcf unproven gas reserves, but expressed concern that the current per capita consumption of gas in Nigeria was one of the lowest within the sub-region.

“Hence, the current policy of government is to promote the utilisation of natural gas in Nigeria. It is expected that natural gas will provide the much-needed alternative to Premium Motor Spirit and firewood,” Sylva said.

On energy concerns in the sub-region, the minister stated at the Houston conference that there was need to reform the global and regional energy systems following growing population on the continent.

He noted that the lessons of COVID-19 must make the continent to focus on re-engineering supply chains, stressing that the industry was no stranger to supply and demand shocks, having faced more than a dozen of such jolts over the course of the past four decades.

Sylva said a single government would not be able to do it all alone, adding that there was need for collaboration across broad spectrum and dimensions in the region.