…But experts query country’s $340m spend in North-East oil search, additional N27bn in seismic expedition
…But Kyari said transition fuels unavoidable
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
As the world transits to cleaner and renewable energy, Nigeria has said it is set to join the rest of the nations of the world in the expected and unavoidable transition. The country said it is also preparing to play a strategic role in the new global energy order.
Mele Kyari, the group managing director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said the corporation and its partners have embarked on a number of strategic projects to deepen delivery of gas to the domestic market and elevate the build-up of greater potentials for export.
Nigeria is Africa’s top oil producer. The country also places as the biggest gas producer on the continent with proven 203 trillion standard cubic feet (tcf) of gas, and the sixth largest in the world. The country also ranks 16th on the US Energy Information Administration’s table for Total Petroleum and Other Liquids Production as of 2017.
Energy transition is the global energy sector’s shift from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption including oil, natural gas and coal — to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, as well as lithium-ion batteries. The increasing penetration of renewable energy into the energy supply mix, the onset of electrification and improvements in energy storage are the key pushers of the energy transition.
Energy transition is increasing in importance as investors are now prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. Also, the current push for regulation and commitment to decarbonization, though yet to be standardized, is contributary to call for energy transition.
Several national governments and energy companies are going the way of cleaner and renewable energy: wind, and solar facilities versus the age-old fusil fuels – as a result of the need to curtail the global warming and climate change.
According to Mele Kyari, group managing director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), speaking at the decade of gas pre-summit conference” which held in Abuja, with the theme: “Towards Gas-Powered Economy by 2030,” said Nigeria’s intention to transit from fusil fuels was unavoidable.
But experts query that the country is rather lethargic, and is yet set up a definitive framework for energy transition.
For instance, using the NNPC for 30 years now, Nigeria has been in an elusive search for hydrocarbons in the Lake Chad Basin where the Nigerian federal government had spent about $340 million, and additional N27 billion in seismic expedition.
Experts say it is rather puzzling Nigeria’s obsession to continue its crude oil exploration in the North East region, at a time the world is leaving all fusils behind to embrace newer and cleaner sources.
Additionally, the national oil company, a government quango has to wean itself from deep sleaze and controversies, if it is to drive Nigeria’s energy transition.
Kyari conceded that technology and innovation were facilitating a new global energy order aimed at decarbonizing the world and safeguarding the climate; stressing that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind which would be key components of the new energy mix were largely influenced by seasons; and were non-transportable to demand centres where they are in short supply.
He contended that under the circumstances, natural gas, and by extension blue hydrogen, would be heavily depended upon as transition fuels to play a key role in the clean energy drive and would provide significant proportion of the global energy mix as well as guarantee feedstock to gas-based industries.
“Nigeria, under the visionary leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has committed huge resources to ensure that domestic gas infrastructure reach every corner of our country to deepen natural gas utilization, spur investment in power and gas-based industries, grow the economy and generate employment for millions of our young people,” Kyari said.
According to him, Nigeria as a gas nation with over 203 trillion standard cubic feet (tscf) of proven gas reserves is monetizing the huge gas resources spurred by numerous policy and industry interventions since 2016, culminating in the declaration of 2020 as the year of gas and progressing into the decade of gas from 2021.
He said, the completion of the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline system Phase 2 (ELPS II), commissioning of the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Lot 2, the NPDC Oredo Gas Handling Facility, and the SEEPCO Gas Processing Plant can be easily cited, even without mentioning ongoing strategic backbone gas infrastructure projects such as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline, the OB3 final hook-up, the Nigeria-Morocco pipeline and several other gas-based industries initiatives. All these will herald the sunrise of gas revolution in our country within the decade, the NNPC GMD said.
He noted that as part of the journey to make the Decade of Gas a reality, the federal government has rolled out the Autogas initiative to provide alternative cleaner and cheaper transportation fuel to petrol, adding that the initiative has received huge support from the entire energy industry and gained tremendous traction.