Right leadership, policies will determine Nigeria’s commitment to energy transition- Stakeholders insist

Solomon Ezeme

Experts and stakeholders  have advised the Federal Government to fix the country’s legal and regulatory frameworks and put in place the right leadership to actualize Nigeria’s energy transition goals. They made this known on Thursday during the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE ) Oloibiri Lecture Series & Energy Forum 2022, held in Abuja.

Speaking during the event monitored by Energyday tagged: “Global Energy Transition: Implications on Future Investments in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry”, stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, advised the Government to utilize responsible leaders in helping it harness its vast energy resources which include solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal and hydroelectric resources.

They emphasized that the right kinds of investments can be driven by the private sector into the country’s energy sector if it put into consideration non-financial factors like ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and Corporate Social Responsibility, in its energy and investments policies.

Dr. Habib Hunu, Executive Commissioner, Development and Production of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), said, “We need to make sure that we fix our legal and regulatory environment across the value chain, whether it is the renewable or the oil and gas space.

“We need to make sure that fiscal space is right to help drive investment from the private sector. We also have to ensure that, from the environmental space, our ESG framework is fully integrated in our policy and regulatory space.”

Dr. Hunu also stated that the renewable sector in Nigeria should be properly institutionalized and commercialized as it shares major similarities with the oil sector.

“We need a very deliberate policy around institutionalizing and creating a market, a business around renewables today. Renewables share similar characteristics with oil and gas,” he said.

Patricia Simon-Hart, Managing Director, AFRAC Limited, supports the Federal Government’s position on energy transition, she said that Nigeria cannot urgently jettison oil and gas production. She said the transition is supposed to be gradual and that commitment is need to integrate the renewables into the country’s energy space as alternative fuel. This according to her must be done until access to energy is significantly improved nationwide.

She advised that the combination of good leadership, technology and highly-skilled workforce is needed to develop the nation’s oil and gas sector.

She said, “I think we’ve all come to the conclusion that we are all driving for net zero future. And at the same time, we’ve all agreed that fossil fuels are still going to be part of the nation’s Energy Mix for the foreseeable future. I think that’s clear.

“However, we still have to keep climate change in mind. So we need responsible leadership that will incorporate cutting-edge solutions into exploring, producing and operating hydrocarbon fields, as well as the gas fields that we will be using.

“We need the kind of workforce that will ensure that these new solutions are back on stream as we produce cleaner energy using hydrocarbons,” she said.

Similarly, Mariah Lucciano-Gabriel, Risk Analysis manager, Asharami Energy, stated that development and energy security are two major factors Nigeria should bear in mind in its transition journey.

She noted that the oil and gas operators in Nigeria will play a vital role in helping the country achieve its energy transition goals. “Oil and gas companies are going to be very critical in the solution on championing this energy transition, and we are going to remain very relevant. However, it will not be business as usual.

“While Nigeria pursues these energy transition goals, its needs should be at the forefront of this agenda. What is the most pressing need right now? Development and energy security because you cannot have one without the other. And this is the right time for us to make the necessary investments and targets,” she said.

Lucciano-Gabriel also advised the Federal Government to take a cue from the effects of ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and ensure it prepares the country to be self-sufficient at all times, considering that some economic sanctions could be used against the country in future times in case of possible conflicting interests with its foreign counterparts.

She said, “History has suggested that with oil price shocks, policy makers , particularly across the Western world, start to mobilize rapidly to support low carbonization.

“Right now, we are experiencing one of those oil price shocks amidst the Russian-Ukraine war and other factors as well. When you start to have these sorts of oil shocks, Western nations that are dependent on these oil sources have to look internally.

“So we too must begin to look internally. We must prepare so that we are competitive for global financing, and also aim at being self-sustainable. We also need to prepare our domestic market for the oil and gas industry” she concluded.

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