Nigeria and other African countries must leverage technology and innovation to facilitate energy access and transition, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, has said.

Mr Kyari said this in a lecture titled “Energy transition and energy accessibility-The new paradigm” which he delivered at the 30th convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State.

He said the need to leverage technology and innovation had become compelling so as to support energy sufficiency, industrialization, job creation and economic growth.

The NNPC GMD argued that while findings have shown that global transition to renewable energy will definitely continue to gain momentum, the pace may not be fast enough to offset the impacts of worldwide economic expansion and population growth.

Specifically, Mr Kyari said rising global population especially in Asia and Africa where young people account for almost a half of the population will significantly push energy demand upward where renewable energy sources cannot meet by 2050.

He explained that the efforts to transit energy systems would involve changes, not only to energy technologies and prices, but also to the broader social-economic assemblages that are built around energy production and consumption.

As global energy consumption grows from the 2018 levels to about 50 per cent by 2050, the NNPC Boss said it is apparent that oil and gas will continue to be a crucial component of the world’s future energy.

Mr Kyari stated that as a National Oil Company, the NNPC is determined to achieve carbon neutrality, using Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources as a low carbon alternative that will help improve access to energy to power the Nigerian economy.

He told his audience that the Company is currently building on the convergence of new technologies and innovative business models that would guarantee access to energy for the future.

He said, “To achieve seamless transition to cleaner energy, global players must promote diversification of energy sources to improve global access to energy and reduce absolute number of people without access to energy especially in Africa.

“As Africa’s largest National Oil Company, we are building on the convergence of new technologies and innovative business models to guarantee access to energy for today and tomorrow.

“NNPC has set the necessary machineries to lead Africa in transition to low-carbon energy and renewables. We are deepening natural gas utilization under the National Gas Expansion Programme.

“NNPC is currently extending natural gas infrastructure backbone from Ajaokuta in Kogi state to Kano through Abuja and Kaduna under the AKK Gas Pipeline Project.

“This mega pipeline will be fed by both Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) and Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) gas pipelines through Oben node in Edo state and deliver 2bscf of natural gas to power plants and industrial off-takers along Abuja, Kaduna and Kano.

“As a National Oil Company and a global player, NNPC is ready to take a front seat in the global shift to renewable energy.

“We are taking firm position in this transition by institutionalizing the necessary enablers for success. NNPC has established a Renewable Energy Division and has completely transformed the NNPC R&D Division to NNPC Research, Technology and Innovation as part of our key initiatives to transit to Energy Company of Global Excellence.”

Mr Kyari said the NNPC will continue its collaboration with the education sector, adding that the Company welcomes beneficial relationship with the Academia and Industry Experts who demonstrate capacity for productive research and innovation in the energy sector.

The GMD predicted that oil will remain very relevant in the global energy mix of today and the future, but added that as transition to cleaner energy gains momentum, especially across the developed countries, oil companies must continuously improve operational efficiency and reduce their costs to remain on the playground.

He added that inclusive policy actions have become the necessary ingredients required to achieve net zero carbon economy as well as Sustainable Development Goals 7, which seeks to address energy poverty especially amongst the least developed countries.

In his address at the event, the Vice Chancellor of FUT Minna, Abdullahi Bala, said that the transition from fossil fuel to renewable has reinforced the need for Nigeria to start thinking of a future without oil.

He said before now, oil constitutes a bulk of the country’s Gross Domestic Product but added that the narrative is beginning to change as other developed countries adapt to climate change.

The VC said, “We all know that oil constitutes a higher percentage of foreign exchange for Nigeria and until recently, it also constitutes a larger portion of Nigeria’s GDP.

“We are also being told that by the year 2050, oil will no longer be the precious commodity that it is now and so it is of interest for Nigeria to look at the way forward. What are we are going to do beyond the economy of oil.

“But there are already moves by developed countries in the name of climate change and environment to reform investments and areas that rely on fossil fuels.

“So for us, the existential threats does not lie in 2050 but it begins now. And so we should be interested in energy transition that will help the Nigerian economy or at least provide a road map for Nigeria to continue to have a robust economy now and in the future.”

Source: Premium Times

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