L-R: Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Chairman Bwari Branch, Halimat Adediran, with Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, NSE President, Tasius Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil and Deputy President, NSE, Margaret Oguntala, at the 2022 Annual Public Lecture, in Abuja on Thursday
By Bassey Udo
With proven gas reserves of about 206.53 trillion standard cubic feet (TCF) valued at over $803.4 trillion and undeveloped potential of about 600TCF, Nigeria is reputed to possess the most extensive gas province in Africa, and among the world’s top 10 producers globally, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said.
Sylva who spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the 2022 Annual Public Lecture of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Bwari Branch, said this huge value and potentials have commended the country for recognition by the European Union as the proposed natural gas ‘green energy’ source.
Green energy is the type of energy from renewable sources, considered to be clean, sustainable and environmentally friendly, devoid of toxic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The Minister who spoke on the topic: ‘‘Inclusive Energy Transition: Key Issues, Investment Opportunities and Barriers Towards Achieving the Decades of Gas Initiative in Nigeria,’’ said Nigeria’s recognition by the EU could translate into huge economic value for the country’s economy, considering the current energy supply crisis in Europe.
The growth of the country’s gas reserves, he said, was a critical leverage for achieving the present administration’s “Decade of Gas Initiative’’, aimed at transforming Nigeria to a gas-powered economy by 2030.
The Decade of Gas, he said, was one filled with opportunities, ranging from a decade of elimination of gas flaring into the development of more domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), fully gas-powered economy and natural gas, as well as from fertilizers as components of gas to producing fertilizer, to help feed billions of people.
He said the Decade of Gas was an initiative to demonstrate Nigeria’s strong commitments to embrace the global energy transition, with a pledge to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, agreeing on a plan, and establishing the National Council on Climate Change (“NCCC”), to make policies and decisions on all climate change issues in Nigeria.
This,he said, was in addition to a commitment to attain net zero by 2060.
“Nigeria is one of the world’s last energy frontiers, a nation brimming with enormous opportunities. As a nation, we are following a transition pathway that combines technology, investment, business strategies, and government policy that will enable Nigeria to transition from its current energy system to a low-carbon energy system with natural gas playing a pivotal role over the next generation, roughly between now and 2060,” Sylva said.
Identifying natural gas as a key resource for a just energy transition, he said Nigeria had all the credentials to meet up with her commitment with the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Minister said Nigeria was well positioned to pioneer future natural gas technology and compete in global markets that are constantly changing, adding that natural gas would play a critical and long-term role in achieving energy security and enhancing environmental outcomes for Nigerians as the global energy sector undergoes unprecedented change.
To achieve an inclusive energy transition, whilst tackling key issues to attract investment opportunities toward achieving the Decades of Gas initiative and the SDGs, he said Nigeria would need integrated engineering solutions that provide resilient infrastructure, sustainable energy, and access to the latest innovative technologies.
In this connection, he said the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was ready to collaborate with the NSE on the decade of gas agenda, knowing that engineering was about the knowledge and practice of solving problems
He acknowledged the fundamental role the NSE has to play in meeting underlying human needs, reducing poverty, supporting and securing sustainable development, rebuilding infrastructure, bridging the knowledge divide, and encouraging intercultural collaboration.
In setting energy policies agenda, the Minister said the government typically considers three major priorities, namely security of supply, economic competitiveness, and capacity for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
He said at present, only gas has the capacity to meet all three priorities simultaneously.
Sylva said from an investment standpoint, availability of gas markets alone would not drive the energy transition agenda at a significant pace or scale, to address the climate change challenge.
“The Federal Government has a key role to play in energising the private sector to act so that Nigeria’s economy can compete with the rest of the global economy,” he said.