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Nigeria cabinet has approved a national gas policy that is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on crude oil by putting facilities in place that will increase gas exploration, the oil ministry said in a statement.

For decades, Nigeria has exported crude oil which is her main source of wealth and this crude is being refined and imported back in the country at great expense, although Nigeria has the world’s ninth largest proven gas reserves, at 187 trillion cubic feet. An alternative to using gas could reduce the drain on foreign exchange that importing refined oil products require.

The gas policy also aims to separate upstream from midstream operations and to separate gas infrastructure ownership and operations from gas trading, the oil ministry said.

The policy will divide the Nigeria Gas Company into separate transport and gas marketing companies and introduces market-led wholesale gas pricing" after a transitional period.

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