By Bassey Udo
Seplat Energy PLC, one of Nigeria’s most successful indigenous oil and gas companies, says it’s committed to net-zero carbon emission by2024, six years years ahead of Nigeria’s 2030 target to end all climate change actions, and 2060 for carbon emissions.
The Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy, Nigeria, Roger Brown, said setting deadline was part of the company’s effort to demonstrate its commitment towards achieving sustainable environmental protection.
The unveiling of a special sustainability campaign last Tuesday tagged “Seplat Tree 4Life”, Brown said was part of Seplat Energy’s efforts to ensure reforestation, reduce biodiversity loss, boost food security and support the global net-zero emission agenda.
He said the “SeplatTree4Life” initiative was part of the company’s commitment to address the effects of climate change, which is not only sabotaging the Nigerian economy, but also preventing it from reaping the inherent benefits of the global energy transition agenda.
To achieve the objective of the campaign, Brown said Seplat Energy would ensure one million trees were planted every year, and 5 million trees to be planted in five years, to combat climate change and carbon emissions.
He said about 75 percent of the trees to be planted being economic trees, as a strategy to protect the environment from the effects of carbon emissions, while ensuring food security and creation of employment among the youth.
The exercise, he said would primarily begin in five states, namely Edo, Delta, Imo, and two Northern states.
“We will purposefully involve women, youth, and communities for sustainable food production and a sustainable environment through community tree planting and mentality transformation. We have adopted a two-pronged strategy to campaign for Tree Planting and Protection to raise awareness of the necessity of tree planting and peoples’ responsibilities to guarantee its success.
“Another way is to plant trees – undertake afforestation/restoration programs with a commitment to plant one million trees each year, mostly from economic trees”, he assured.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, commended Seplat Energy for its initiative, saying the company has proved again to be a very responsible company by its strategic social Investment programmes.
As a country, Sylva said the Federal Government has identified gas as the pathway to clean energy, noting that was why the government was committed to creating opportunities for local operators to leverage on.
He said the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was an enabler, as it has various fiscal incentives operators could take advantage of to undertake gas projects, to deepen the gas business in Nigeria.
Apart from declaring the year 2021 to 2030 as the “Decade of Gas”, Sylva said the government has also created a roadmap to help meet the target.
Also, he said the government was creating corridors to deepen the gas business, by implementing key projects like the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline corridor across Nigeria, from the Southern part to the North; the West Africa Gas Pipeline corridor to Morocco; the Trans-Saharan Pipeline and the Nigerian Gas Transportation Network Code.
Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, who was represented by the Deputy Director and Head Green House Gas Inventory Division of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Victoria Gyang, said Seplat Energy’s tree planting drive aligns with the global environmental protection agenda, apart from the protection of the Nigerian environment and ensuring sustainable growth and development.
Ikeazor said climate change remained the biggest challenge faced by the world, adding that collaborations and partnerships were needed to aid the reduction of carbon emissions, guarantee environmental protection, and eventually end deforestation.
The Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited Board, Margery Chuba-Okadigbo, said the “Seplat Tree4Life” initiative was coming at a time the oil and gas industry was facing unprecedented challenges.
She lauded Seplat Energy for joining in the concerted efforts being made on climate actions to mitigate the impact on the environment.
The Group Managing Director/CEO, NNPC, Mele Kyari, who joined virtually from Luanda, said the Seplat Tree4Life was a good initiative to protect the environment and the people.
He lamented that the use of firewood to cook was still going on despite bad effects for health and the environment.
Kyari said he was in support of what Seplat Energy was doing to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development.
The Chairman of Seplat Energy, ABC Orjiako called for concerted efforts by stakeholders in the energy sector to develop key strategies and investments aimed at reducing the carbon footprints on the environment, by embracing cleaner and healthier energy.
Orjiako explained that reforestation would reduce the carbon dioxide in the air, prevent erosion and contribute to food security.
The Seplat Energy Chairman said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its assessment report of February 2022 revealed that climate change consequences were already pervasive and more difficult to adjust to than anticipated, emphasizing the importance of climate action.
“There is a worldwide energy problem. Everyone is in a crisis, and the form and manner in which it is resolved vary. More than 60 percent of Nigeria’s population lives in absolute darkness.
“Gas is a more environmentally friendly source of energy. Homes consume more than 80 percent of the energy required. We should not deforest; doing so worsens environmental damage. CO2 emissions will also rise. Instead, we are encouraging reforestation.
“We’re assisting with LPG penetration so that people don’t have to rely on trees to cook,” he said.
Orjiako said trees must be planted everywhere to stem the tide of deforestation, adding that the more deforestation there is, the more we not only encourage climate change infestation, but also generating more carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into the environment.
“We want to emphasize that the purpose of the tree planting activity is to prevent deforestation and promote reforestation. You must plant trees everywhere you go. We took the intentional choice at Seplat that ESG (environmental, social, and governance) is an important component of conducting business that will be beneficial to our communities,’’ he said.