Nigeria Committed to Energy Transition, Reducing Gas Emission – Silva


Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, HE Chief Timipre Sylva has disclosed that Nigeria made a strong commitment to embracing energy transition while pledging to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The Minister stated this yesterday at the Nigeria-Africa natural resource and energy summit in Abuja

He said that that was in addition to the commitment Nigeria made through President Muhammadu Buhari, at COP 26 in 2021 to attain carbon net-zero by 2060.

Sylva who explained that Nigeria is following a transition pathway that combines technology, investment, business strategies, and government policy that will enable Nigeria to transit from its current energy system to a low-carbon energy system with natural gas playing a pivotal role, added that the country needs affordable, reliable and sustainable energy resources to eradicate the prevalent energy poverty in the shortest time possible, and propel economic growth.

According to him, “the only viable option currently on the table is natural gas, considering vast proven gas endowments, put at 209 TCF, with 600 TCF potential reserves. We cannot ignore this resource, especially when energy poverty is viciously starring at us.”

“The goal of Nigeria’s gas policy is to ensure that gas development is undertaken in accordance with our socio-economic development priorities. The aim is to guarantee long-term energy security in the country, and boost the domestic gas market, hence the declaration of 2021-to-2030 as the ‘Decade of Gas’ by Mr. President. We have embarked on a critical pathway to ensuring that our abundant Natural gas resources are marshalled to engender domestic economic growth and development.”

He also said that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has launched the National Gas Expansion Programme NGEP as part of the National Gas Policy to expand Nigeria’s Domestic gas utilization; the National Gas Flare Commercialization Programme; as well as specific provisions in the new Petroleum Industry Act PIA that elevates LPG as the fuel of choice compared to other competing fuels and the usage of solar energy is already being vigorously promoted across the country, while the use of hydro, wind and other natural resources are also being expanded.

The Minister who lauded the theme of the Summit ‘Towards a Greener Africa’ observed that it is very apt and timely at this challenging time in the energy industry globally.  However, he explained that at the core of this challenge is the issue of climate change that is eliciting clamour for transition to greener energy sources to reduce carbon emission.

“It is imperative that every nation and region comes up with a green initiative to foster a collective combat against the incessant threat to the planet caused by CO2 emission. Such initiatives must be bold, decisive and on target.

“It should however be borne in mind that such initiatives should reflect the realities and conditions prevailing in these places, particularly the socio-economic development and energy needs.

“The key consideration in every country’s energy policy should be pivoted on energy security.  This constitutes a very high priority goal for nations all over the globe.  The reason is not far-fetched: Energy propels economic growth.

“That makes energy security synonymous with optimum and sustainable economic growth.  Energy is an indispensable ingredient for human development and socio-economic prosperity.  It is central to jobs creation, security, health, and other challenges facing humans.

“This is why access to energy is prominently addressed in the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, SDG 7 focuses on access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, as a fundamental right.

He said that as at today, energy poverty is still much prevalent in the world, especially in Africa where millions of people still do not have access to electricity or clean cooking fuels.

Based on the UN data, about 760 million people lack access to electricity worldwide, with three out of four of them living in sub-Saharan Africa.

Furthermore, one-third of the world’s population – about 2.6 billion people – have no access to clean cooking fuels, with over 900 million of these in sub-Saharan Africa.

On the average, only 48% of sub-Saharan Africa population have access to electricity, while only 18% have access to clean cooking fuels, compared with a global average of 90% and 70%, respectively.

In relation to CO2 emission, World Bank statistics shows that the world average of CO2 emissions was 4.48 metric tons per capita in 2018, with some regions and individual countries recording five to seven times this value. Emission by sub-Saharan Africa in total was only 0.76 metric tons per capita.

According to him, “the implication of the above is that the issues surrounding energy poverty, climate and sustainable development are not mutually exclusive. Consequently, the approaches to attending to these issues should not be disconnected.”

On the other hand, Sylva admitted that climate change is definitely of serious concern to Africa. But of equal concern is the alarming level of energy poverty. Both must be addressed in a sustainable manner. It must be a win-win situation.

Energy transition is about providing clean energy, and not about discriminating between energy sources.  In the face of the current high level of energy poverty worldwide, especially in Africa, all energy sources will be required to achieve the sustainable development goal of providing access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.