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Africa to promote increased utilization of gas and renewables

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Solomon Ezeme

 

The African continent has resolved to shift from its dependence on the usage of fossil fuels to the utilization of gas and renewables which it has described as cleaner sources of energy, in order to align with global agenda of reducing carbon emissions.

Various continents and nations, within their different regions, have designed specific timeframes for achieving this target. The EU (the bloc’s 27 countries) seeks to end Co2 emissions by 2050, just as Nigeria has set a 30-year limit to achieving its Net-Zero goals, as declared by the Federal Government through the Office of the Vice President.

During the panelists session of the ongoing “Oil Trading and Logistics Expo 2021 Africa Downstream Week” (Day 1) in Lagos , all the panelists held the view that Africa must continue to hold discussions towards ensuring that the continent prepares itself to jettison the heavy usage of fossil fuels and embrace cleaner sources of energy.

This, according to them, is to join the global community in combating the greenhouse effects caused by gas emissions, especially as it concerns the oil and gas industry.

The event which holds from Tuesday October 26 to Friday October 29, is focused on Africa’s downstream petroleum supply chain, including refining, trading, financial services and policy, shipping, tank storage, among others.

Femi Adeyemo who is an advocate of “Energy Access” and Founder/CEO of Arnergy, said that energy firms need to adopt business models that favour the application of clean energy in their operations, to reduce cost.

“On government reducing the cost of renewables, I want to say the type of business model a company uses could go a long way to reducing cost itself.

“Electricity historically has been a service-bound utility. I agree that government can reduce or completely take out excise duties on renewables. But when a company’s business model is geared towards using clean energy, it will definitely help to reduce cost,” he said.

Adeyemo also emphasized the need to give the renewable energy more attention so as to prepare Nigeria and the continent for the future.

He said, “We have to be intentional especially in discussing LPG. It is a clean source of energy that is good for cooking.

“There is need to have improved contributions to solar. Government has done some good job in that area but can still do more. There is no reason why we can’t have distributed solar systems in our homes.

“Latium batteries, for instance, should not be a discussion for the long-term; it should be for a midterm conversation.

“This is because a lot of Latium batteries are needed to power the electric vehicles that the world is transiting to.”

General Manager, Sales & Marketing, TotalEnergies, Charles Atiomo, said that government needed to help reduce the cost of accessing clean energy and encourage businesses to utilize it for production.

He also disclosed that his company is currently providing credit facilities for young entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in the renewable energy industry, across the globe.

“Right now, we have an entire factory running on solar. We are saying the same, generally, in terms of the renewables.

“The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is already taking effect, so selling petrol at some prices will now be illegal.

“The truth is: the cost of renewables needs to reduce to encourage manufacturing companies shift from the use of fossil fuels to renewables.

“TotalEnergies, by the first quarter (QI) of 2022, will have 2 CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) stations in Nigeria.

“We started converting our stations from the national grid, to an extent, from generators to solar.

“About 120 TotalEnergies stations today are solar powered, to meet our net-zero emissions target.

“We are currently encouraging young people to come out so that we can know what profitable ventures that have. This is not only in Nigeria – it is global, even up to Paris.

“We would have more discussions to help people know that there are actually a lot of such facilities out there that they can key into,” he said.

Dr Billy Okoye. Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, NNPC, said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is working on developing the renewable energy industry in Nigeria.

“Coal is one of the very dirty sources of energy we have. NNPC is presently working towards improving the renewable energy industry.

“We now have a renewable energy department that is focused on renewables.

“We have initiated the Local Industry Protection to ensure the safety and protection of our environment, here in Nigeria.

“It ensures that all oil companies in Nigeria follows safety guidelines during production. This helps to reduce carbon emissions into our atmosphere.

“The CO2 you are now seeing in the air today, will soon be converted to cleaner energy with a new technology the NNPC will be deploying. We have the technology in place, already,” he said.

The Oil Trading and Logistics Africa Downstream Week is a major downstream energy event that brings together international organizations, policy makers, regulators, development organizations, operators, service providers and consumers in the Africa downstream petroleum and energy industry.

It creates room for strategic discussions, trade and services exhibitions and high-level networking opportunities, for business development and policy activation opportunities in the sector.

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