By Lukman Abolade
Roger Brown, the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy Limited said while Nigeria’s upstream oil and gas development is critical to fund its energy transition, it also needs to be more efficient.
Brown was speaking at the 2023 Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE) of the Society Petroleum Engineers, Nigeria Council, themed: “Balancing energy accessibility, affordability, and sustainability: Strategic Options for Africa,” held on Monday in Lagos.
“Upstream oil and gas development is critical to the fund the transition but needs to be much more efficient, eliminate theft, flaring, leaks, and operate with low carbon intensity.
“Nigeria needs to move from reliance on diesel/PMS generators, this will improve health, and lower cost of electricity, which is severely holding back developments in oil sectors. Gas is the transition solution,” he said.
The Seplat boss told participants that investment needed to achieve net zero targets by 2050 is projected at $3.5Trillion per annum; which is around 1.3% of annual global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stressing that more than 500Million Africans have no access to energy and more than 900Million Africans do not have access to clean cooking energy.
While delivering his remarks, Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), represented by Abel Nsa, the Head National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC) noted that despite Africa’s vast potential for renewable energy, only 5% of the region’s energy supply comes from renewable sources.
“Oil accounts for 50% of the region’s supply, followed by coal, natural gas, renewable energy accounts for only 5% of the region’s supply despite the regions vast potential for being solar and hydrogen power generations,”
Komolafe added that harnessing Africa’s vast array of natural and human resources the potential to stimulate economic growth and development, improvement its prosperity in line with UN goals.
“For us in the energy profession, especially in the upstream oil and gas industry, the future we envisage for the upstream is the one that will assure that gas will be responsible for a significant part of Nigeria’s energy use,” he said.
Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer, (GCEO) Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), during his speech said although the country is not transitioning away from hydrocarbon, it hopes to record increase in use of clean energy.
Kyari who was represented by Adokiye Tombomieye, NNPCL’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, said in the past few years, the Nigerian energy industry has witnessed strategic transformation which gave birth to viable industry legislation, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), and a long-term gas-centered energy transition plan.
“Nigeria is not transitioning away from the hydrocarbons; however, we hope to see an increase in the footprint of alternative cleaner energy sources in the foreseeable future amid fossil fuel dominance. We use what we have to get to our desired destination. This is the reason that NNPC Limited has identified gas as a transition fuel and we are expanding our gas development and gas infrastructure across the country to increase energy accessibility.
“Today, Nigeria has about 209.5Trillion Cubic Feet of natural gas reserves with a potential upside of up to 600Trillion Cubic Feet, and this is an enormous resource that would drive cleaner and affordable energy vision. Other alternative energy sources such as solar and wind are faced with technology limitations. They are still not affordable and cannot meet the high energy demands of our industries, cities, and remote environments.
Kyari said the NNPCL plans to sustain and increase its aggressive gas development and gas transportation projects to achieve affordable and clean energy in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), Goal No. 7, as its strategic energy plan towards finding a balance for the energy trilemma.
Farouk Ahmed, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), represented by Mustapha Lamorde, the Executive Director, Health Safety Environment and Community (HSEC), highlighted the pressing energy challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa, including limited access to electricity and outdated infrastructure. He emphasized that as the transition progresses, there are significant opportunities to accelerate development across the gas value chain to pave the way for a sustainable energy future
Ahmed said millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa, still live or are living without access to electricity while some only have access to very limited or unreliable electricity due to old and insufficient infrastructure, growing energy demand with few energy sources, and a vibrant young population among other challenges.
He said as an Authority, the ongoing Nigerian-Morroco gas pipeline and Trans-Saharan Gas pipeline are key stream when completed would place Nigeria as a major gas exporter to West Africa and Europe and build stronger international ties.
“As the transition evolves, there is an opportunity to accelerate development across the gas value chain providing a low carbon bridge to the future of sustainable energy,” he said.
The speakers at the NAICE conference agreed that as the energy sector evolves, collaboration, innovation, and strategic planning will be key to achieving a balanced energy trilemma of accessibility, affordability, and sustainability. By embracing efficiency improvements, clean energy sources, and responsible development practices, Nigeria and Africa can pave the way towards a more sustainable and prosperous energy future for all.