• Friday, April 12, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Nigeria must develop capability to produce, utilise fossil fuel – Wabote

Nigeria must develop capability to produce, utilise fossil fuel – Wabote

Nigeria must quickly develop the capacity and capability to develop as well as utilise the nation’s abundant fossil oil. This is in the face of what Simbi Wabote, executive secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) calls a shrinking finance supply available in oil and gas from foreign financiers.

Wabote, who spoke last weekend, said western nations have shifted attention from oil and gas and now focusing on funding, manufacturing of equipment, and developing of the supply chain to support their renewable energy sources.

Wabote spoke at the convocation lecture he delivered at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE) Effurun, Delta State, titled; “Defining the value of local content in petroleum education.”

According to him, the ongoing debate and the deadlines being set in respect of energy transition underscore the need to develop home-grown skill sets to manage the nation’s natural resources.

He stressed that the narrative around energy transition has further revealed the need to ensure there is a direct link between the nation’s petroleum education and the development and utilisation of hydrocarbon resources, so that the nation is able to deal with any outcome of the transition.

He said there was an urgent need for the Federal Government and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to intensify efforts in promoting quality petroleum education and developing competent manpower to help Nigeria meet the challenges of the ongoing energy transition and the expected boom in the gas sector.

Commenting on the recent enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 and the Decade of Gas initiative, Wabote said those developments would not only engender investments and utilisation of the nation’s estimated 600 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves but also lead to a boom in the gas sector, which he said would benefit discerning institutions, investors, operators, and service providers.

Read also: Energy transition in peril as govts spend $18trn on fossil fuel subsidies in 2yrs

The executive secretary charged educational institutions in Nigeria to prepare for the opportunities and challenges of energy transition and gas revolution by preparing a robust curriculum in petroleum education with the mindset of enabling Nigerians develop and utilise her hydrocarbon resources using home-grown technology.

This, he further explained, would ensure that Nigeria is not forced out of the development of hydrocarbon resources due to a lack of technical capability as was the case with coal development in Enugu.

He urged FUPRE as an institution devoted to petroleum education to be at the forefront of preparing Nigeria’s manpower needs for any outcome or impact of energy transition.

He agreed on the need to add renewables to the global energy mix to ensure energy security but criticised attempts by the western world to demonise or de-market other energy sources as well as extracting commitments and setting unrealistic deadlines for countries to abandon fossil fuels.

He advised all nations to jealously guard their locally available sources of energy and ensure they remain in their energy mix for the benefit of their people.

He also highlighted two implications that have emerged from the rush to move the world away from fossil fuels and they include divestment, whereby western countries shift funding away from the development of hydrocarbons towards renewable energy and Energy Shortage, which is the decline in the supply of hydrocarbons due to lack of investments and the fast pace of the shift to renewable energies.

He posited that divestment has resulted in the emergence of indigenous companies playing major roles in exploration and production activities “such that companies like AITEO, FIRST E&P, EROTON, and others have acquired assets and are now responsible for producing about 15 percent of Nigeria’s oil and more than 60 percent of domestic gas.”

He, however, regretted that the divestment of the international oil companies and their reluctance to make further investments in oil and gas have resulted in the repatriation of capital out of Nigeria. “This stifles the nation’s economy of the much-needed foreign exchange with funds used as loans to acquire oil and gas assets instead of being used to develop new production assets,” he rued.