IMPACT OF LEASING GAS SECTOR MANAGEMENT ON NIGERIA’S EXTERNAL RELATIONS, 2000 -2013
Energy is one of the few issues in today’s international system which bring about economic ties between states and, also, with a distinct possibility to incite conflict between major powers. Natural gas is one of the most important sources of energy today. Nigeria is the ninth highest gas exporter in the world, and has the world’s seventh largest gas deposits, with 187 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven reserves. Despite this potential, the level of gas production and utilization by the international oil companies (IOCs), in the country for both domestic and industrial purposes, is relatively low, as more effort is concentrated on gas export than domestic consumption. This study is focused on the impact of leasing gas sector management on Nigeria’s external relations. The study is guided by the following research questions: Did the patterns of international control and management since 2000 impede Nigeria’s indigenous technological development in the leasing gas sector?; is the failure of the IOCs to meet their domestic gas supply obligations implicated in the low utilization of natural gas in Nigeria?; and does the character of the Nigerian state undermine her ability to regulate the activities of the foreign backed IOCs, in the exploration and utilization of natural gas in Nigeria?The study made use of documentary method of data collection, the Ex-Post-Facto research design and the qualitative descriptive and logical induction methods in the analysis. The theory of ‘Democratic Developmental State,’guided the study.The study found that the patterns of international control and management have impeded Nigeria’s indigenous technological development in the gas sector, as the technologies and skills used to explore and produce natural gas are owned and hoarded by IOCs, thereby forcing the Nigerian state to depend on them technologically. The failure of the IOCs to meet their domestic gas supply obligations has contributed to the low utilization of gas, enhanced the crisis in power sector and inhibited industrial growth in Nigeria.The weak structure of the Nigerian state impeded the capacity of political leaders and institutions to regulate the activities of the IOCs in the exploration and utilization of natural gas in Nigeria, and also inhibits her ability to effectively make use of her rich endowment of natural gas as an instrument of foreign policy.The study recommended that; the Nigerian State should play more assertive role in the gas sector management; by taking the development of indigenous technologies in the gas sector more seriously; provide adequate infrastructures and security; and clearly define and pursue the local content aggressively to achieve set targets in the leasing gas sector management.