• Monday, March 04, 2024
businessday logo


Energy security key to Nigeria’s economic growth, says Sylva

Energy security key to Nigeria’s economic growth, says Sylva

Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources says energy provision is key to Nigeria’s economic growth and security.

Sylva, while delivering a keynote address at ‘the Nigeria-Africa natural resource and energy summit’ in Abuja on Thursday, said energy propels economic growth, which 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 job 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.

The minister said that as of 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 3 out of 4 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.”

The minister said on average, only 48 percent of the Sub-Saharan African population have access to electricity, while only 18 percent have access to clean cooking fuels compared to a global average of 90 and 70 percent, respectively.

In relation to CO2 emission, World Bank statistics show 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. Emissions by Sub-Saharan Africa in total was only 0.76 metric tons per capita.

At the core of this challenge is the issue of climate change that is eliciting clamour for the transition to greener energy sources to reduce carbon emissions, the minister said.

Read also: Seplat Energy awards shares worth N5bn to 3 directors

It is important that every nation and region come up with a green initiative to foster collective effort to combat incessant threats to the planet caused by CO2 emissions. Such initiatives must be bold, decisive and on target, the minister said.

In addition to the current high level of energy poverty worldwide, especially in Africa, Sylva stated that all energy sources will be required to achieve the sustainable development goal of providing access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

However, he argued that this goal cannot be achieved by renewable energy sources alone. All available energy sources should be considered, while available technologies, like carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), should be employed to make them cleaner, he said reiterating oil and gas will remain important components of the global energy mix for decades to come, he said.

Fossil fuels, he said, will continue to be needed and essential for propelling global socio-economic development, especially in energy-poor countries, mostly in Africa, specifically sub-Saharan Africa but they have to be used with appropriate technologies and this should be a part of the solution to climate change in energy-poor countries.

“Natural gas is widely seen as a low carbon-emitting energy source that could play a major role in the energy transition quest.

“Natural gas is known to emit 30 percent less CO2 compared to oil, and almost 70percent less compared to coal, for an equivalent amount of energy supply,” he said.

The minister stated that the European Commission is making a move to classify nuclear and natural gas energy sources as ‘green’ and Nigeria has already made a strong commitment to embracing energy transition, pledging to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

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

According to the minister, 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.

“Nigeria needs affordable, reliable and sustainable energy resources to eradicate the prevalent energy poverty in the shortest time possible, and propel economic growth.

“The only viable option currently on the table is natural gas, considering our vast proven gas endowments, put at 209 tcf, with 600 tcf potential reserves,” he said.

The goal of Nigeria’s gas policy is to ensure that gas development is undertaken in accordance with our socio-economic development priorities.

The minister insisted that the aim is to guarantee long-term energy security in the country and boost the domestic gas market, which informed the declaration of 2021-to-2030 as the ‘Decade of Gas’.

“We have embarked on a critical pathway to ensuring that our abundant Natural gas resources are marshalled to engender domestic economic growth and development.

“In this regard, 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 utilisation; the national gas flare commercialisation 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, Sylva said.