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Paucity of funds, infrastructure may hinder Nigeria’s energy transition targets – Stakeholders

Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry say that Nigeria and other sub-Saharan Africa nations may not achieve decarbonisation and net-zero emission targets to save the global environment due to dearth of funds and infrastructure.

Offshore Technology Conference (OTC)
Some members of the Nigerian delegation at the 2022 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in Houston, Texas, United States

They said this at a luncheon and panel session held on Wednesday, which was organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas and sponsored by Oilserv Group.

The theme of the luncheon and panel session was tagged: “Energy Transition and the Future of Africa”.

The Group Managing Director, Aiteo Exploration and Production, Mr Victor Okoronkwo, said Nigeria and most African countries lack strategy to generate the energy needed in the face of reduced funding for fossil fuel related projects by foreign financial institutions.

He said over 90 per cent of the funds used for oil and gas exploration as well as production comes from abroad.

He said that the Paris Agreement on climate change had put Nigeria and the rest of the world in a dilemma in terms of where to raise funds from.

He cited the case of the United States, saying that a lot of the solar and wind energy was heavily subsidised by the Government and Nigeria and others within the African region lack the resources to develop their domestic gas, let alone transiting to solar or wind energy.

On his part, the moderator of the session and Vice Chairman of Platform Petroleum, Mr Austin Avuru, said all the funding that came into the industry in the last 60 years in Nigeria was gotten because the country was provided energy security for the geographies that provided the funding.

“Now that they have said they will no longer provide funding for fossil fuel projects, where do we turn to?” Avuru asked.

Besides, he said the question the industry is asking now is, “where will the funding for gas production come from, let alone talking about funding for cleaner energy?”.

Avuru maintained that industry projection had it that by 2040, Africa’s crude oil production would not be capable of meeting its oil demand, warning that the development should be food for thought for African leaders.

He added that all those questions were posers towards the need for domestic energy security for Nigeria and Africa.

The Platforms Petroleum boss said by 2040, there would be nine billion people on earth and that those people require a certain per cent of energy to remain alive.

On the other hand, he said those number of people also require a clean environment to live well, saying the discussion should be around finding that equilibrium between the energy that the world needs, the contribution to that basket of fossil fuel that people were running away from and a clean environment to secure the future of younger generation.

Particularly, he said there were about 600 million Africans that had no access to electricity.

For the Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, Oilserv Group, Mr Emeka Okwuosa, Nigeria needs to urgently work around strategies to achieve energy security.

He maintained that infrastructure and the required funding for the future of the new oil was simply not there.

He said that the electric cars being produced in other parts of the world to replace fossil fuel cars might face a setback in Africa.

This, he added was because the electricity to power such vehicles was lacking, saying, “Do we have to rely on generators to power these vehicles?”.

Okwuosa explained that the world would have been in crisis by now due to the Russia-Ukraine tension if the United States had not released oil from its reserves.

He said that action by the United States had prevented oil prices from hitting $200 per barrel.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd.,(TEPNG), Mr Mike Sangster, who was represented by the Executive Director, People and Country Services, Mr George Oguachuba, said the journey of energy transition was something that had been on the table of many companies in the last couple of years.

Sangster explained that his company’s name change from Total to TotalEnergies was driven by the fact that it recognises the need to go on that journey and the need to become a responsible energy company.

He said the name change was not for the sake of just changing, but there were elements contained in the journey.

Sangster also said to achieve certain milestones by 2030 and 2050, the company would have to promote the use of biogas, hydrogen and low carbon electricity, adding, “today in Europe, the country produces electricity for some end users.

By Yunus Yusuf

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