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Friday, May 24, 2024

Minister tasks African nations on consistent policies to end energy poverty

The Federal Government has urged African countries to come up with consistent and similar policies in other to end energy poverty.

Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri
Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil)

Mr Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), said this became necessary as the debate on the shift from fossil fuel production to renewables gather momentum.

Lokpobiri, gave the charge in his remarks at the Africa Energy Forum with the theme: “The future of Energy Transformation in Africa: Clean Energy and Business Sustainability” held on the sidelines of Oil Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, USA, on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.

The minister said Africa must come up with consistent and similar polices, adding that the biggest challenge towards achieving the energy transition is capital.

‘‘The bigger challenge we have is access to capital to explore our oil and gas resources and that is what the West is using to keep Africa down.

“They are now do is to think of establishing our own Energy Bank and that is why the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) has come up with the idea of establishing an African Energy to help Africa oil producing countries have access to cheap capital,’’ he said.

He hinted that some countries in the Middle East which include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and others do not need support from the West because they have the financial capability to fund their oil and gas exploration and wouldn’t bend to the dictates of the West.

He worried that Saudi Arabia which produces 11 million barrels a day is self-sufficient in funding its exploration while the entire African continent that produces about six million barrels per day cannot expand its production capacity because it doesn’t have the huge capital outlay to do that.

‘‘We are always looking up to the West and the West will say, we are not going to give you money unless you stop production of fossil fuels and if we follow them, we will continue to be poor in terms of access to energy.

“The easiest way for Africa oil and gas producing countries to raise money to cater for its need is from oil and gas that we have in abundance.

The minister maintained that no form of energy is superior to the other, depending on which part of the world it is opportune to be.

He said that Nigeria would continue to explore for hydrocarbon resources because that is quickest and easiest way for it to get revenue.

‘‘If we decide to abandon fuel production today, what now happens to the rich natural resources beneath the ground. As we speak coal, today is still very relevant in some part of the world.

“We are not saying we are not transiting because it is a pact that we committed to at COP26 in Glasgow.

“But we must be made to transit at our pace. We should not be rushed into energy transition because if we do, the consequences may be grave,’’ Lokpobiri added.

By Yunus Yusuf

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