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Nigeria, others need $100bn annual investment to fix energy woes

Nigeria, others need $100bn annual investment to fix energy woes

Nigeria and other African countries will require over $100 billion in annual investment in the power sector by 2030 to address their electricity woes which continue to minimise the continent’s economic growth.

This was disclosed by Amina Benkhadra, the director-general of the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM), the national oil company of Morocco at the Africa Gas Innovation Summit (AGIS), held in Abuja on Thursday.

According to her, Africa is faced with several challenges, including a low electrification rate, low agricultural yields, the lowest integration rate in the world, and a deficit in advanced structures. This, she said, has heightened the need for investment in the region, development of innovations, and new technology.

Read also: Liquidity, not restructuring needed to fix power sector Edun

“When we see the energy needs, it’s important to highlight that to satisfy the increasing African electricity demand, a huge investment of over $100 billion annually in the power sector by 2030 and at the same time, Africa’s growing electricity conception requires substantial investments in power infrastructure up to $3 trillion by 2050.

“We can see also that with its huge reserves of gas, the current gas infrastructure project pipeline can equate to $245 billion with more than 90 percent in the concept stage and to unlock Africa’s energy future, we will need to develop major infrastructure projects both at the level of national and local projects.

“So, we have to raise the ambitions of Africa’s energy strategy to increase the power generation capacity, deepen the reforms of our energy governance, encourage public partnership, and private partnership investment, mobilise those international investments that we have seen just before and contribute to development through technology and innovation approaches,” she said.

Speaking on the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline which was proposed in December 2016 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the ONHYM, Benkhadra said that it will contribute to accelerating electrification and energy sufficiency in areas covered and contribute to economic integration and development of industrial sectors.

The $25 billion pipeline would connect Nigerian gas to every coastal country in West Africa (Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania), ending at Tangiers, Morocco, and Cádiz, Spain. It would be an extension of the existing West African Gas Pipeline, which already connects Nigeria with Benin, Togo, and Ghana.

Benkhadra further stressed the need for leaders to consider that the role of emerging and developing countries, especially a lot of African countries, is now an essential component in achieving the global transition to an efficient system compatible with the imperatives of sustainable development. She stated that Africa must play a role in the transition, particularly Nigeria, with its crucial resources.

Noting that gas is the backbone of the energy transition, the DG said there was a need to reinforce cooperation among African countries and also between Morocco and Nigeria which failed several strategic projects in energy, agriculture, and especially gas.

Read also: AfDB mulls $1bn policy-based operation fund to support Nigeriav power sector reforms

Ekperikpe Ekpo, Nigeria’s minister of state for Petroleum Resources (Gas) said the global transition to a sustainable energy future required innovative technologies and practices that minimise environmental impact while maximising efficiency and productivity.

This, he said, entails investing in cutting-edge research, promoting the deployment of advanced gas technologies, and encouraging the adoption of best practices across the industry.

He said technology was reshaping the landscape from exploration and production to transportation and utilisation. The minister added that advancements in gas technology have continued to revolutionise the sector as evidenced by innovations such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), CNG for vehicles, gas-to-power solutions, and carbon capture and storage.

Ekpo, who was represented by Nicholas Agbo Ella, the permanent secretary in the ministry, said, “As policymakers, we must create an enabling environment that fosters innovation. This includes providing incentives for research and development, facilitating partnerships between industry and academia, and ensuring a robust regulatory framework that encourages technological advancement while safeguarding public and environmental health.

Earlier, Salahuddeen Tahir, chairman of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), noted that financing, technological and skills gap, high costs of oil and gas production, infrastructure challenges, the global push for a transition to cleaner energy as well as security issues were the topmost challenges in the African oil and gas space.

According to him, new players such as Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, have emerged in the African gas sector, which he said was a far departure from the known – Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Gabon and Angola.