Stakeholders recommend inclusive, balanced approach to energy transition

Solomon Ezeme

To ensure a sustainable energy transition process, there is a need for a balanced approach that is inclusive and does not restrict any part of the global community from solving existing energy challenges, stakeholders have stated.

This is coming on the backdrop of African leaders’ continued resistance to pressure from the international community, especially the West, to abandon its fossil fuel due to climate change.

Until recently when the Russian-Ukraine war led to a drop in energy supply, Western nations have continued to increase international climate finance in a bid to discourage fossil fuel usage and fend off the impacts of global warming.

Erome Utunedi, General Manager, Corporate Production and New Technology, Seplat, on Thursday, during the ongoing Seplat Energy Technology Week in Lagos, warned that, if a one-sided approach is being applied, energy transition portends a major risk to existing energy development and operations

Speaking on the event’s theme: “Technology: A Key Enabler to Sustainable Energy Transition,” Utunedi said that improving energy access is as important as addressing climate change, especially in Africa where less than 50% Africans have access to energy.

“The challenge will continue to be on how to increase energy access and sustain development while also transitioning toward cleaner energy sources,” he noted.

He stated that, for effective transition to take place in the energy sector, there must be a balance between addressing the immediate energy challenges of each country and achieving Net-Zero.

Utunedi explained that the only way by which sustainability of the energy sector can be achieved within Nigeria and Africa, is to ensure that no of the two issues is addressed with the other neglected.

“The world has become, largely, used to fossil fuel to achieve the above. Transiting therefore portends real risks for major disruptions and then being able to sustain it requires another disruption in thoughts and processes.

“The world is going through a lot of challenges and the issue of global warming has taken the central stage,” he said

He also advised oil companies and investors in the oil and gas sector not to be overly interested in profit making at the expense of people’s safety and health, especially their host communities

Utunedi stated that the application of technology in production activities by players in the sector would help produce a more sustainable and cleaner energy in an environmentally friendly manner, noting that technology has a significant role to play in solving the problems of global warming and in addressing energy needs.

“There is now the urgent need to become more responsible for the environment in our plans and actions in the pursuit of energy transition,” he said.

Late Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, outgoing Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), had earlier before his death, in the keynote address at the 21st edition of Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference & Exhibition, in Abuja, stressed the need for the global community to allow various countries harness its energy resources to address their immediate energy challenges while they push for transition.

While emphasizing the need for cooperation and multilateralism, the OPEC boss called for a balanced energy transition that takes a just, inclusive and compressive approach, based on data and driven by science.

Barkindo stated that total primary energy demand is projected to expand by 28%, whereby oil is expected to retain a share of over 28% of the global energy mix, followed by gas at around 24%.

He further noted that the world needs to develop new technologies, strengthen human capacity and remain leaders in innovation, as well as increase investment in the sector, to both meet growing energy demand and ensure sustainability of the oil and gas sector.

Barkindo stated that a cumulative investment of $11.8 trillion is required in the upstream, midstream and downstream oil sectors through to 2045, to meet global energy demand, support the world economy against projected rise in global population.

Barkindo said, “In other words, oil and gas together will continue to supply more than half of the world’s energy needs for many decades.

“These hydrocarbon resources are especially vital to the energy mix in regions like Africa, which will see massive population shifts and economic growth in the coming years,” the late Barkindo noted at NOG.