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Petroleum engineers advocate Free Trade Zone for renewable energy

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) on Thursday, July 19, 2018 urged the Federal Government to create Free Trade Zone (FTZ) that would develop renewable energy and increase investment opportunities.

solar panels
Renewable energy: An array of solar panels

The Chairman, SPE Nigeria Council, Mr Chikezie Nwosu, made the plea at a press briefing ahead of the SPE’s Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition 2018 slated to hold in Lagos from Aug. 6 to 8.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that theme of the conference is entitled: “Diversification of the Nigerian Economy- the Oil and Gas Industry as an Enabler’’.

Nwosu said that diversification of the Nigerian economy from conventional crude oil to renewable energy would go a long way in addressing the threat on dwindling global demand for oil.

He said: “The National Gas Policy must open the vast opportunities to deliver energy and earn significant revenue from our abundant gas resources.

“We are the regional giants in gas and the entire West African, possibly sub-Saharan Africa; the region’s economy will boom, if Nigeria gets it right.’’

He said it has become clear that, with anticipated growth in energy demand, the world was rapidly moving toward an age of cleaner sources of energy.

According to him, with the demand for fossil fuels, this will mean a greater reliance on gas and less reliance on oil and coal.

He said that hydroelectric and gas-powered cars would replace diesel engines and with time, gasoline engines.

“With our population, a booming West African region will create huge opportunities in just about any industry.

“Nigerian companies in the renewable energy space, solar, wind, biomass, among others, will also benefit from the human capital we have developed,’’ Nwosu said.

He said that creating the right business environment for the industry to thrive would give room for the much-needed diversification.

According to him, the need for Nigeria to get a FTZ that will concentrate on developing the renewable energy, the better for the country to grow the sector.

“The growing investments in renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind, becomes evident that Nigeria must rethink its energy policy to solidify on the gains in the oil and gas industry.

“We must leverage on these leanings to prepare for an energy mix that will become less reliant on the more polluting fossil fuels,’’ he added.

Nwosu said that there was need to urgently implement the National Gas Policy and maximise the huge gas reserve in a bid to facilitate the diversification of the nation’s economy.

“We have a potential to produce over 20 billion standard cubic feet per day, that is only leveraging on the known contingent 180 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves.

“There is 600Tcf of prospective gas resources, he said.

The chairman said the nation’s current gas production stood around 8.5 billion standard cubic feet, adding that government needs to urgently implement the national gas policy.

“If we can leverage on that, energy will be abundant, and there will a lot of impact on gas-based industries. We have to stop treating gas the way we treated oil as a commodity,” he said.

By Yunus Yusuf

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