Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources
…As a government, the country is determined to encourage more penetration of natural gas and its derivatives for domestic utilization, power generation, gas-based industries and all aspects of national economy.
Addressing the 44th Nigeria Annual International Conference & Exhibition (NAICE) of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) with the theme: “the Future of Energy – A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health and the Global Oil Market” the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, was of the view that the petroleum industry was beset in 2020 by unprecedented crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is also true that the crisis heralded unpredictable challenges, uncertainties and low crude oil price that led to global economic shutdown; thanks to the timely development of vaccines, we are now on the pathway to recovery.”
“The questions facing us then become: Should we wait for another unwanted crisis before we act on securing sustainable energy for the future? Can we deliberately influence public health, climate change and ultimately global oil markets? That is why the trilogy of determinants which form the crux of this year’s theme is key.”
The Minister said scenario being projected by some energy experts is that energy transition to low carbon energy sources would make the world a better living place with a cleaner climate. The government of Nigeria aligns with this thought.
However, that this process of change has to happen by way of a simultaneous global effort of transitioning national economies to the use of low carbon energy solutions, is an assumption that all national economies are driven by the same parameters and does not take into account the different socio-economic, political and developmental peculiarities of individual nations.
He stated categorically that Nigeria’s approach towards the climate-change-net-zero-emission debate is to optimize the use of its abundant gas resource domestically as a transition fuel option towards meeting nationally determined contributions on climate change. As a government, the country is determined to encourage more penetration of natural gas and its derivatives for domestic utilization, power generation, gas-based industries and propulsion in all aspects of the national economy. This would in a fundamental manner address the great challenge posed by volatile oil market, the environmental issues and public health concerns.
Regarding the global oil market in the foreseeable years, it is becoming obvious that a global migration from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable would engender a corresponding decline in hydrocarbon including possible divestiture in the sector as deliberate frameworks are being championed to discourage extraction of carbon-laden resources. The COVID-19 Pandemic has further exacerbated the investment decline.
Sylva posited that the government of Nigeria in collaboration with global partners is exploring policies, technologies and investments to address the current global challenge that will support migration from its reliance on carbon dependent fuels to meeting its commitment to the Paris Agreement.
He encouraged SPE to be in forefront of quest to achieve desired balance of clean environment, safe public health and a renewed global oil market. The SPE NAICE will be an appropriate platform to bring to the front-burner the critical discussions that would forge a robust and implementable clean energy solutions pathway for Nigeria.