Shell Nigeria unit outlines plans to make oil production cleaner

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd will commit to making exploration cleaner by cutting greenhouse emissions, paying closer attention to environmental and social impact of its business and enhancing collaboration among operators towards sustainable actions, its managing director has said.

Elohor Aiboni, MD of SNEPCO, in remarks at the panel session of this year’s edition of BusinessDay CEO conference, a forum for business leaders to share ideas on emerging business trends, also said the company is leveraging gas as a transition fuel towards a low carbon future.

“In the upstream sector, we are making exploration cleaner from the greenhouse gas emissions standpoint, we are more cost-efficient and resilient and pay closer attention to social aspects of sustainability,” Aiboni said.

In February Royal Dutch Shell published an energy transition plan which details that in its upstream production, it will focus on value over volume, being simpler and more resilient.

To this end, the company announced significant cuts in carbon emission over the next five years and a gradual reduction in oil production of around 1-2 percent each year, including divestments and natural decline.

Elohor, the first female to lead a Shell exploration company in the over 60 years of Shell’s operations in Nigeria, was the Bonga Asset Manager responsible for overseeing end-to-end production delivery for Nigeria’s pioneer deep-water Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. Bonga, is an offshore asset that has produced over 900 million barrels of oil since it began operations in 2005.

Read also: How Shell’s $700,000 offshore tech centre will make Uniport a rare oil knowledge centre in Africa

Efforts to curb emissions in oil production ranges from reducing gas flares to even powering certain aspects by drilling operations with renewables. Shell is a key investor in the Nigerian LNG plant whose operations has cut gas flares in Nigeria by

While Shell is in the process of selling off onshore assets in Nigeria, she said the company plans to grow investments in deepwater business.

“We have not made significant investments, due to uncertainties in the fiscal and regulatory framework in Nigeria but we expect that to change with the passage of the petroleum industry act,” she said.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Petroleum Industry Bill into law in August, twenty years after the law was first introduced.

Analysts believe it will galvanise oil companies to invest in Nigeria but it has done little to halt their plans to sell down their stakes in some assets or sell it off entirely.

Shell, Aiboni said has a renewed focus to grow its natural gas business as its route to energy transition.

Natural gas emits about 45 percent less emissions than fossil fuels and far less pollution than coal and we are seeing more and more growth potential using it for electricity, she said.

“The issue is how can we replicate the success in other countries towards an energy transition that will put us at the same pace as others,” Aiboni said.

She also highlighted the need for companies to embrace digitisation and technology. “if we say our people are the assets, we have to focus on reskilling them, that’s how to drive transformational changes that will grow the economy.”

This reality of energy transition has been forced home for oil companies by the recent wave of shareholder mutiny on their boards, a string of losses in legal battles and announcements by billion-dollar funds that they are no longer funding oil and gas projects.

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