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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Clean energy: Govt to develop just transition policies for oil workers

The Federal Government of Nigeria says it will develop new mechanism on how oil and gas professionals can leverage on their expertise to transit to other clean energy sources.

Gbenga Komolafe
Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Commission Chief Executive (CCE), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC)

The mechanism, known as the “Just Transition Policies”, when implemented would guarantee safe and decent work environment for oil and gas workers.

Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Commission Chief Executive (CCE), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), disclosed this on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, in Abuja at the maiden edition of the PENGASSAN Energy and Labour Summit 2022.

The theme of the summit is ‘’Energy Transition and its Effect on Workforce in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector”.

The summit is being organised by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

Komolafe spoke on “Energy Transition: Positioning the Nigeria Energy Industry for the Future (Upstream Perspective)”.

He said another critical enabler that could affect the Nigerian workforce during this time of energy transition phase was Just Transition.

“Ultimately, as the energy transition draws closer, the government will develop robust just transition policies to provide guidelines on how oil and gas professionals can leverage on their core technical expertise to pivot to other clean energy sources.

“The ‘just transition’ philosophy ensures environmental sustainability as well as decent work, social inclusion, and poverty eradication.

“Given that Nigeria has a high poverty rate, the importance of just transition principles cannot be overemphasised.

“The Host Communities Development Trust (HCDT) and the Local Content Act have the potential to guarantee longevity of the industry during these changing times.

“To stay competitive and relevant the Nigerian worker will have to upskill in this regard,” he advised.

According to Komolafe, Nigeria and other African economies looked to industrialise to meet the needs of rapidly growing and urbanising populations, a rise in energy demand could leave many countries facing energy supply challenges.

He said that hidden in the challenges were significant opportunities and Nigeria had the chance to leverage the energy transition to lead in the creation of renewable-energy businesses to meet the growing energy demand on the continent, create new revenue streams and jobs.

Fundamentally, he said, within the next few years most International Oil Companies (IOCs) shall divest from onshore oil and gas assets due to poor return on investment as a result of crude oil theft and this may pose threat to job security.

He, however, said that it was expected that indigenous players would leverage on this to recruit experienced professionals who would  in turn grow local capacity.

Komolafe urged indigenous players to take advantage of the predictable licencing rounds as enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and relevant regulations to form big mega companies that would grow in-country capacity and also expand outside the shores of Nigeria.

“Energy transition is valid, however, the timing is uncertain. We are very aware that energy transition may threaten job security and stifle investment in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

“I align fully with the policy of government which is hinged on ensuring that we utilise our huge gas resources as a transition fuel towards cleaner energy sources. We must utilise our hydrocarbon resource for industrialisation and economic growth.

“The PIA, its corresponding regulations and government policies have the capacity to build a resilient and sustainable oil and gas industry.

“These will latch onto critical socio-economic factors across the world to increase gas production, build a robust gas infrastructure that will entrench Nigeria as a gas hub across Africa and Europe.

“All these will in turn create more jobs and attract investment across the petroleum value chain for the benefit of the Nigerian workforce.”

By Emmanuella Anokam

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