Timipre Sylva, the minister of State for Petroleum Resources, says Nigeria is unable to meet the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota of oil production due to lack of investments in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
Nigeria’s OPEC quota is pegged at 1.8 million bpd but in the last few years, the country has struggled to produce between 1.3 and 1.4 million bpd.
Speaking at a ministerial plenary, at the ongoing Ceraweek, in Houston, Texas, the Minister said that the speed with which international oil companies and other investors were withdrawing investments in hydrocarbon exploitation has contributed significantly to Nigeria’s inability to meet OPEC target.
According to Sylva “the rate at which investments were taken away was too fast. Lack of investment in the oil and gas sector contributed to Nigeria’s ability to meet OPEC quota. We are not able to get the needed investments to develop the sector and that affected us”.
He also cited security challenges as another major factor that contributed to the lack of significant growth of the sector in the country adding that the drive towards renewable energy by climate enthusiasts has discouraged funding for the sector.
The minister while advocating for gas as a transition fuel for Africa said although Nigeria was in full support of the energy transition, the African continent should be allowed to develop at its own pace to be able to meet the energy needs of the over 600 million people who have no access to any form of power in Africa.
He said “there are about 600 million people in Africa without access to power and of that number the majority live in Nigeria. And of the over 900 million people without access to power in the world, the majority live in Africa. So how do we provide access to power for these people if you say we should not produce gas?
“We believe that gas is the way to go. We believe that gas is the way forward and the one access to power, we need to have an inclusive energy transition programme.
“Yes, we believe in energy transition but we as Africans have our own peculiar problems and we are saying that our energy transition should be focused on gas to bridge the energy gap. This is what we have been saying. We need a just and equitable energy transition programme.”
He maintained that Nigeria was not in any way against any transition programme but urged promoters of renewable energy as the only path to energy transition to give the less fortunate countries of the world the opportunity to achieve energy sufficiency before doing away with fossil fuel.