The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed concerns with the pressure being mounted by rich nations on developing countries into abandoning their base-energy resources for the current energy transition, insisting that every nation has its peculiar circumstances.
This was the highpoint of the speech delivered by Nigeria’s Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, at the Seplat Energy Summit 2021 with the theme “Global Trends in Energy Transition and the Africa Perspective.”
Chief Sylva, while noting that fossil fuel is the base-load energy source for Nigeria, maintained that the continuous exploitation of the country’s oil resources would be crucial in supplying world markets with a broad portfolio of energy options.
Sylva explained that Nigeria was still working to achieve industrialization, address energy poverty and ensure reliable power supply, and emphasized that the call to jettison fossil fuels all together may not be feasible for now.
In the words of the minister: “This is why in Nigeria, we reject the concept of a single pathway to the energy transition. Indeed, we prefer the concept of ‘just’ energy transition which takes into cognizance the specific circumstances of each nation in developing the energy transition pathway that best achieves the environmental, social, political and economic objectives of the transition in that specific nation.
“Multiple pathways to the energy transition should and must exist in order to ensure that no country is left behind in the process of achieving net-zero by 2050.
Insisting that Nigeria sees gas as both a ‘just transition fuel and a destination fuel,’ the former Bayelsa State governor pointed out that Nigeria would continue to focus on gas, which he said is at the heart of the energy transition and represents the first step in the journey to renewables away from oil.
This, Sylva, further explained is why the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, 2021 proposes generous incentives to enable the development, distribution, penetration and utilization of gas.
“Our proven gas reserves are sufficient to cover current demand levels and support plans for the construction of nine new gas-fired power plants with a combined name-plate capacity of nearly 6,000 MW by 2037,” the minister added.
The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, in his comments, argued that the mistake being made all over the world was that people see net zero as zero fossil fuel in the future.
Chief Executive Officer of Seplat, Mr. Roger Brown, explained that Seplat has a strategy as summarized in its upstream oil and gas, in which it is continuing to cut costs, the midstream which is mainly gas processing business and the third which is its renewable energy side.
Brown noted that the focus on renewables remains real, describing it as the energy of the future, but maintained that one fuel source was not the solution to the transition, but a combination of many sources.
A non-executive director of Seplat Energy, Mr. Bello Rabiu, noted that 80 per cent of emissions were being carried out by the industrialized nations, while the rest of the world does a paltry 20 per cent, saying that African countries cannot suffer for the irresponsibility of some developed nations.
Arguing that net zero in 2050 does not mean oil and gas will no longer exist, Rabiu, however, noted it was not sustainable to keep spending income from fossil fuel on importation, stressing that Nigeria needs technology, investment and the cooperation of the international community.