Operators in the African oil and gas business must come together to develop and action plan to unlock the vast opportunities for cleaner development and energy security in the continent, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, has said.
Komolafe spoke on the theme: “Maximising Africa’s Natural Resources in the Global Energy Transition” at the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town, South Africa.
In his paper, titled: “Energy Transition Regime: Leveraging Investment Opportunities In The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Sector” presented at the event on Wednesday, Komolafe said Nigeria which is a nation where needs meet opportunities, was looking forward to collaborating with interested industry players to unlock the full potential of the country’s upstream petroleum sector in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The country’s drive to grow oil and gas reserves and boost production for energy security, Komolafe said, offers huge investment opportunities in exploration and development.
“But, alongside this are also huge investment opportunities for the deployment of decarbonisation technologies to ensure environmental sustainability,” he added.
To support this drive, he said Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 mandated that only projects with gas utilisation plans in the upstream sector would be approved or sanctioned.
Komolafe said the NUPRC has intensified efforts at eliminating those elements that were harmful to the environment, while conserving more gas for other beneficial uses.
“We have intensified efforts toward eliminating flared gas while arresting methane and other fugitive gas emissions, by commercialising 49 flare sites through the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP)”, he told his audience.
“The significance of this is that more gas would be available for domestic utilisation as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), feedstock for power generation plants, fertiliser plants, petrochemicals and export,” he added.
He said further investment opportunities were also available in the oil, and gas licencing rounds, which would be conducted more frequently in line with the provisions of the PIA and the relevant regulations, seismic acquisition on a multi-client basis, development of deeper hydrocarbon opportunities, etc.
Each of these areas, he said, provides a unique entry point for willing investors.
Besides, in response to the dynamics of the energy transition and reduction in global carbon footprint, Komolafe said the Nigerian upstream petroleum regulator has embarked on the development of a regulatory framework for carbon-pricing system, in line with the African carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), as part of the efforts to shape and harness the potential of carbon markets in the upstream oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
A new Department in the Commission, known as the “Energy Transition and Carbon Monetization”, he said, was saddled with the responsibility of midwifing appropriate regulations and activities for the oil and gas upstream energy transition and carbon market.
Consequently, industry stakeholders in Nigeria, he said, were increasingly embracing these climate action initiatives targeted at emissions reduction, while ensuring that opportunities arising from the increasing demand for credit in the voluntary Carbon Markets do not elude them.
Moreover, he said the ongoing pilot study on Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) projects in Nigeria was an important step in Nigeria’s decarbonisation journey.
He reassured willing investors that the implementation of the Host Communities Development Trust (HCDT) provisions of the PIA has restored confidence and created a more cordial relationship between the host communities and the operators.
In carrying out its oversight roles, the CCE said, the Commission has registered 90 HCDTs, in addition to partnering with an Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to develop an intelligent, digital, automated platform for reporting, monitoring and transparent administration of the HCDTs for sustainable operations in the Nigerian communities.
The Commission Chief Executive pointed out that Nigeria as a country was suitably positioned to become a superpower in the unfolding energy transition given its population of over 200 million people and abundant energy sources to achieve the right energy mix.
In calling on his colleagues in the oil and gas industry in the continent and globally to join forces in unlocking the vast opportunities for cleaner development and energy security, Komolafe quoted Robert Redford by saying that “problems can become opportunities when the right people come together”.