Nigeria’s federal government on Tuesday said it would continue to ramp up investments in the country’s hydrocarbons, despite the current global shift to renewable sources of energy.
Speaking at the Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, said the country would rather leverage on its huge gas reserve as a transition fuel option, instead of abandoning fossil fuels wholesale.
The minister stated that oil and gas would continue to be relevant and play a major part in the energy mix in the foreseeable future, adding that as a government, Nigeria would continue to encourage more penetration of natural gas and its derivatives for domestic utilisation, power generation to propel national economic growth.
Sylva said the process of change has to happen by way of a simultaneous global effort of transitioning national economies to the use of low carbon energy solutions.
He maintained that it was wrong to assume that all national economies were driven by the same parameters, which do not take into account the different socio-economic, political and developmental peculiarities of individual nations.
But the minister stated that despite such investment in fossil fuels, the government in collaboration with global partners was exploring policies, technologies and investments to address the current challenges that would support migration from reliance on carbon dependent fuels to meeting its commitment to the Paris Agreement.
“It is obvious that a global migration from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable would engender a corresponding decline in hydrocarbon, including possible divestiture in the sector as deliberate frameworks are being championed to discourage extraction of carbon-laden resources,” he stressed.
In addition, Sylva challenged petroleum engineers in the country to be at the forefront of Nigeria’s quest to achieve the desired balance of clean environment, safe public health and a renewed global oil market.
In his comment, the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Sarki Auwalu, argued that for the foreseeable future, the world would continue to see a mix of all energy sources, including coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables – in the supply equation.
According to him, while renewable sources will make steady inroads in the global mix, oil and gas would be relevant in decades to come.
“This conclusion is informed by the outcomes of market analysis and forecasts based on demand-supply equilibrium, socio-economic fundamentals, climate change and environmental considerations as well as technology and innovation that is shaping the dynamics of global outlook.
“The character of petroleum as an energy resource, which include availability, accessibility, affordability, reliability, and efficiency, gives it a measure comparative advantage over emerging energy alternatives for secured and stable energy supply.
“However, we would not delude ourselves that change is not happening; we must continually re-invent the industry and find ways to improve the environmental credentials of oil and gas by deploying technologies for carbon reduction and management to maintain its acceptability as fuel,” he said.
Auwalu argued that the ongoing narrative of the relative significance of each energy type and the clamour for, “end of oil era” was not informed by technical and economic considerations alone but by global geopolitics and the vagaries of neo-colonialism as well.
“Indeed, Africa must take its destiny in its hand and rewrite history by leveraging abundant human and natural resources which nature has bequeathed on this great continent to create wealth for its people, eliminate poverty, improve social-economic conditions while driving value for the globe,” he stated.
He stressed that following an in-depth assessment of the status of the industry, the department had identified the need to formulate the Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) strategy for Nigeria to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimisation and the economic benefits arising therefrom.
Auwalu listed other measures as reserves maturation and production optimisation, exploration and resources maturation, improved oil recovery and enhanced oil recovery implementation.
In addition he said asset stewardship, performance evaluation and rewards as well as risk management have been incorporated into the new framework, which has already been shared with the industry.
“The future is bright and for me, the future is now. We can lead the future and create our own history if we take conscious efforts now,” he explained.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja