BY: Olusola Bello
Nigeria’s commitment to achieve Net Zero emission by 2060 made at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow Scotland earlier in the year has been described as encouraging as the country focuses on renewable energy by Mike Sangster, managing director and chief executive officer of Total Energies, one of the major international oil companies in the driving seat pushing to achieve the Net Zero target.
In working to achieve the goal, Sangster said gas has an important role to play in that transition, adding that huge investment is required for Nigeria to realise the annual five gigawatts of renewable energy she targets between now and 2060.
The TotalEnergies chief executive, at the recent Aret Adams 19th Annual lecture held in Lagos said: “Investment required is huge and enormous and one of the challenges is connecting everyone to the grid, through transmission and distribution networks, so that generation capacity gets to targeted consumers.”
Total Energies, he said, has noted that Nigeria and other countries have strong demand for electricity.
“We do believe that gas has a role to play in power generation, we feel it is very important to renewable, and by nature, renewables are very intermittent, wind, sun or solar. Gas is very good because it is a quick starter for the gas-fired plants,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria has two sources of renewable energy, one is hydro and another is solar. “Some of the reports I am getting are talking about the potential for 40 gigawatts of hydropower, but about two gigawatts currently installed. So clearly, there is the capacity to harness more gigawatts from hydropower.
“Secondly, as far as solar power is concerned, there are some other reports that are still suggesting that well over 400 gigawatts of solar capacity could be available. However, nobody has the significant size of the grid.”
Therefore, solar is the most attractive solution, said Sangster.
On the plan of the company, he stated that changing to TotalEnergies was a significant moment for the company. “We want to move from an oil and gas company to a broad-based energy company. In terms of gas, Nigeria is number one in Africa. So, Nigeria is very important for TotalEnergies,” he further said.
According to Sangster, as far as oil is concerned, TotalEnergies does not believe that the oil business is dead, but that the company would focus on low-cost low key projects, adding that the company wants to be in the top five global energy companies by 2050.
“Part of the strategy of the company,” he explained, is to try to be part of the solution to climate change, a strategy driven by a business sense as well.