• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Oando pushes back on Africa’s hasty shift to renewables, calls for measured approach

Oando pushes back on Africa’s hasty shift to renewables, calls for measured approach

Nigerian oil and gas giant Oando is urging caution against an overly hasty shift towards renewable energy sources in Africa, arguing for a more measured approach that considers the continent’s unique needs.

Oando’s stance comes amid a growing push for renewable energy adoption across Africa. Many countries are setting ambitious targets to increase their reliance on clean energy sources like solar and wind power.

However, Oando argues that a complete shift from fossil fuels would be unrealistic and potentially detrimental to African economies. The company suggests a more balanced approach incorporating renewable energy development and responsible oil and gas extraction.

Ainojie Irune, executive director of Oando Plc and chief operating officer of Oando Energy Resources, made the call during a panel session at the just concluded Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) Energy Week 2024 in Abuja.

Sharing his thoughts on the topic: “Navigating a Sustainable Future for Independent Producers”, Irune cautioned African countries against a hasty shift towards the 30-year Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 vision.

He therefore described Africa’s hasty shift towards green energy, as a disingenuous approach, arguing that Africa, with its abundant energy resources but with widespread poverty, cannot afford a hasty transition to renewable energy.

“We have always felt it was too soon for us as Africans with huge amounts of energy resources, but we exist in deep poverty.
“We can’t transition ourselves to further poverty. We were asked to march on to a 30-year Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 vision aimed at achieving universal access to modern energy services by 2030 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“We committed ourselves to the vision of turning all of our energy resources to renewable energy, unfortunately, we have no business latching on to that dream,” he said.

Irune, who is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of Oando Clean Energy Limited emphasized the relevance of a balanced energy mix, noting that oil and gas would still play significant roles in the future.

Read also: Oando releases delayed 2022 financial results, says on track to clearing backlog

According to him, “At Oando, we no longer feel pressured by the energy transition push; instead, we see an acceleration in our crude oil extraction.

“Therefore, African countries need to extract every molecule of crude oil from beneath the earth’s surface and use natural gas to champion the continent towards sustainable development.”

Highlighting Oando Plc’s commitment to supporting the African economy through renewable energy projects, Irune said, “While extracting oil, we can harness solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro in ways that support our economy,”

He mentioned that Oando’s Clean Energy Division is engaged in several projects, including transportation, solar energy, waste-to-value, wind, and geothermal energy in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).

He explained that his organisation has made significant progress in projects in the transport sector due to Africa’s logistics-based economy.

“We are also involved in solar energy, waste-to-value projects, wind, and geothermal energy. One of our advanced projects is the electric vehicle initiative with the Lagos state government, where we are moving to deploy 100 buses after completing the pilot phase”, he added.

Continuing, Irune underscored the importance of ecosystem development, local capacity building, and knowledge transfer.

“We believe in contributing to ecosystem development, learning, and local capacity building.
“It’s essential to build a base that allows us to explore our oil and deploy capital to increase the size of these projects in a manageable way,” he said.