The Federal Government has warned that limited international financing of oil and gas projects could jeopardise Africa’s energy transition and roadmap to attaining net-zero.
Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, sounded the note of warning at the 45th Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition(NAICE) of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Council with the theme: ‘’Global Transition to Renewable and Sustainable Energy and the Future of Oil and Gas in Africa.’’
Sylva said the theme was apt, coming at a time the world is witnessing a turnaround in the global energy landscape and clamouring for transition to greener energy sources to reduce carbon emission.
The Minister was worried that the campaign for reduced funding of fossil fuels explorations has led to a gale of divestment by the international oil companies in Nigeria.
However, he said, he strongly believes the divestments by the IOCs is an opportunity for oil and gas exploration in the country because Nigeria’s independent producers have developed capacity to fill-in the gap. But to achieve this, he advised that Africa will have to look inward and harness its resources, while accelerating technology development, to face the global energy transition onslaught.
‘‘We need to develop cross-border infrastructure and expand regional energy market to guarantee long-term energy security’’.
It is generally acknowledged that transition to low carbon energy sources will make the world a better living place with a cleaner climate.
However, energy transition is better viewed as providing clean energy, and not as abandoning some energy sources’’.
Sylva noted that, while current forecast indicates that the global cost of renewable energy is declining steadily, the reliability and sustainability of these renewable energy supplies have been challenged by the recent energy crisis in Europe and the Americas, which has re-awakened new interest in fossil fuel supplies.
‘‘We have seen coal plants being fired up in several European Countries recently, and a renewed interest in natural gas supply from Africa. There are also reports of increased oil and gas drilling operations in the USA with spontaneous permits being granted recently’’.
He maintained that anticipated economic growth and rising global population, especially in Asia and Africa, will significantly push energy demand upward to a level that renewable energy sources only cannot meet by 2050.
‘‘All these imply that the global energy mix will remain with us, amidst greater dominance by hydrocarbon energy sources, at least in the foreseeable future. It also indicates that energy transition will remain a gradual process, as against a rapid and radical shift as some have presented it.
It is therefore necessary that more effort should be put on the use of available technologies, like the carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), to make fossil fuels cleaner.
This will encourage a win-win situation in terms of CO2 emmision reduction and meeting global energy demand. Many countries have already come to the realisation that the adoption and deployment of CCUS technologies in large scale will play a critical role in supporting energy transitions globally. Hence, investment into the CCUS technologies is a very appropriate step at this stage of addressing climate change concerns’’.
For Africa, he advised that adaptive strategies for the energy transition should be adopted across the continent, meaning that the different socio-economic, political and developmental peculiarities of individual nations should be taken into account in their transition plans.