African covernments and institutions must leverage technology and innovation to support the quest for energy sufficiency, industrialization to create job and ensure economic growth, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has said.
Mr Kyari made the call in a lecture he delivered in Sokoto on Monday at the Usman Danfodiyo University’s 2021 First Quarter Public Lecture Series.
The lecture was titled, “Navigating Energy Transition and the Imperatives of University-Industry Collaboration.”
Mr Kyari challenged governments and institutions on the African continent to adopt technology and innovation to achieve energy sufficiency and its economic multiplier effect on their people.
He said the NNPC, which he described as Africa’s biggest national oil company was already building on the convergence of new technologies and innovative business models in its operations.
These innovative models, he noted, would play an important role in the future of energy development in the country.
“NNPC is setting pace by setting the necessary machineries to lead Africa in the transition to low-carbon energy and renewables.
“We (NNPC) are taking firm position in this transition by institutionalizing the necessary enablers for success,” he said.
In line with this drive, the GMD said the NNPC has established a Renewable Energy Division and completely transformed the NNPC Research and Development (R&D) Division to NNPC Research, Technology and Innovation Centre as part of its key initiatives to transit to an Energy Company of Global Excellence.
He said the oil industry alone cannot drive substantial innovation without sustained collaboration with universities, research institutes, manufacturers, policy makers and regulators.
The NNPC, he said, welcomes beneficial relationship with the academia and industry experts who demonstrate capacity for productive research and innovation in the energy sector.
Energy transition, Mr Kyari said, cannot be complete without the right investment climate, capital, effective regulation, stakeholder’s commitment, supportive infrastructure, and an innovative business environment that can accommodate the anticipated changes.
The NNPC boss observed that further diversification of energy sources will improve global access to energy and reduce the absolute number of people without access to energy, especially in developing countries.
He said the new energy transition must be fashioned towards creating a balanced landscape that supports the development and energy needs of diverse groups of people across the planet.
As global energy consumption grows from 2018 levels by about 50 percent by 2050, he said oil and gas would continue to be a crucial component of the world’s future energy.
This, he explained, was because the world would keep burning significant proportion of fossil fuels to sustain the anticipated progress and growth, especially in Asia and Africa.
Mr Kyari commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving his management a free-hand to deliver on its mandate, describing him as the only president that has never interfered in the operations of the Corporation.
He said the current crop of NNPC management was so privileged to have a President who never interferes in what the NNPC does as a Corporation.
“That is very unprecedented. This has gone a long way to help us deliver on our mandate, especially the drive towards domestic gas utilization,” Mr Kyari said.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chief Host and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, said the NNPC under Mr Kyari was being repositioned to align with the realities of tomorrow, especially as the oil industry awaits the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly.
Governor Tambuwal also called on the current National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the all-important Bill, urging the lawmakers not to allow the efforts of the NNPC GMD and his colleagues within the industry to go in vain.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said NNPC under Mr Kyari has recorded remarkable strides, one of which was the tireless efforts in transforming the Corporation into a knowledge-driven organization through collaboration with the academia and other stakeholders.
On his part, the Vice Chancellor of UDUS, Lawal Bilbis, said the University was open to partnership with the Corporation, especially in the area of oil exploration in the Sokoto Basin.