From Adewale Sanyaolu, Houston, Texas
The target to achieve net-zero emission by Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa may be a tall order over funding and infrastructure constraints.
This was the view of panelists at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) luncheon and panel session with the theme: Energy Transition and the Future of Africa sponsored by Oilserv Group in Houston Texas, yesterday.
Group Managing Director, Aiteo Exploration and Production, Mr. Victor Okoronkwo, said Nigeria and most African countries lacks strategy to generate the energy it needs in the face of a cut in funding for fossil fuel related projects by the western world.
He said over 90 of the funds used for oil and gas exploration comes from the west, saying the Paris agreement on climate change has put Nigeria and rest of the world in a dilemma has to where to raise funds.
Citing a case of the United States, he said a lot of the solar and wind energy is still heavily subsidized by the Government, saying Nigeria and others within the region lacks the resources to develop its domestic gas let alone transiting to solar or wind energy.
For 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 Nigeria was gotten because we were providing 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,’’?
Besides, he said the question on the lips of the industry now is that where will the funding for gas production come from, let alone talking about funding for cleaner energy.
Avuru maintained that industry projection has 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 these questions are 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 these number of people also require a clean environment to live well, saying the discussion today should be around finding that equilibrium between the energy that the world needs, the contribution to that basket of fossil fuel that we are running away from and a clean environment to secure the future of our children and grand children.
Particularly, he said there are about 600 million Africans that have no access to electricity.
For his part, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, Oilserv Group, Engr Emeka Okwuosa, said 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 regretted that the electric cars being produced in other parts of the world to replace fossil fuel cars may face a setback in Africa because the electricity to power such vehicles was lacking. 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 has prevented oil prices from hitting $200 per barrel.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited(TEPNG), Mr. Mike Sangstar who was represented by the Executive Director, People and Country Services, Mr. George Oguachuba, said the journey of energy transition is something that has been on the table of many companies in the last couple of years.
He explained that his company name change from Total to TotalEnergies was driven by the fact that it recognizes the need to go on that journey and the need to become responsible energy company, saying the name change was just not for the sake of changing the name but there are elements contained in the journey.
He said to achieve certain milestones by 2030 and 2050,he said the company promotes the use of biogas and hydrogen and low carbon electricity, saying today in Europe, the country produces electricity for some end users.