The Federal Government has called on the United States (US) Government to provide funding support to develop Nigeria’s natural gas resources to serve as alternative sources of energy for Europe.
This follows the continued Russian war with Ukraine, which threatens the disruption of gas supplies from Russia to the entire European continent.
Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, speaking in a meeting with the US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, on the side-line of the ongoing Ceraweek, in Houston Texas, said the collaboration between the US and Nigeria in this area would be of immense benefits to both countries as well as the entire globe.
According to Sylva, it is in the interests of the global community that there is an alternative supply of gas to Europe.
“Nigeria has an abundance of natural gas resources that can meet European gas demands, noting that the problem has been access to funding.
“The challenge for us to achieve this feat has been lack of infrastructure and we need funding to develop infrastructure for our gas and we believe that the US can provide that funding,” he said.
He also noted that the Nigerian government, as part of efforts to boost gas supplies across the African continent has embarked on the construction of 600 kilometres of the Ajaokuta- Kaduna- Kano (AKK) gas pipeline designed to take gas to Europe via North Africa.
According to the minister, the crisis between Russia and Ukraine is a wake-up call to have alternative sources of gas to Europe.
Speaking on the issue of the global energy transition, Sylva said for the energy transition programme to be meaningful, the peculiar problems of Africa must be factored into the entire energy transition arrangement.
“We have to be given some special considerations. As much as we want to be part of the new economy, we can not move at the same pace. We still have people without clean cooking fuels, so we want to achieve our energy baseload through a multi-prong approach. The reality check is that we can not move at the same pace. There is a gap between expectations,” he said.
He called on the US to support Nigeria and other African countries in the areas of funding and technology stressing that it is through such collaborations that the energy transition programme can be fast-tracked.
Sylva however cautioned that such funding and technological support must be made accessible to interested countries.
“We have to work out a structured way to access the funding. We must create that understanding to make the loans accessible. The issue of sovereign guarantee must be removed so that interested countries can easily access the funding.
“It has not been easy for Africa to access AGOA. so the type of funding we are looking at is the one that Nigeria will be able to access.”
In her remarks, Granholm expressed the readiness of the US to cooperate with Nigeria to develop her renewable energy sector noting that the US government was not against the development of gas or other sources of energy.
She said the US government would be willing to support Nigeria in developing her renewable energy sources and therefore called for a coordinated strategy to pin down specific areas of focus where funding and other support would be required.
“Investors are interested in funding renewable energy in Nigeria but they are interested in knowing possible areas of focus. We have to work out a structured way to access the fund” Granholm said.