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Nigeria among victims of energy transition

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By Usman Oladimeji

African nations faced pressure to halt fossil fuel exploration.

The swift energy transition favoured by the developed nations has been said to have the most devastating effects on Nigeria and its African neighbours. Secretary-General Omar Farouk of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO), an intergovernmental oil and gas organisation with 18 member countries, made this claim at the 3rd Biennial International Conference on Hydrocarbon Science and Technology, organized by the Petroleum Training Institute in Abuja on Monday. He noted that the African nations are faced with pressure to halt their fossil fuel exploration.

Farouk said nevertheless, Nigeria and other African countries have an obligation to their citizens to expand their economies by tapping into the vast oil and gas reserves within their various landscapes. He said, “we (APPO) very often receive enquiries about the future of oil and gas,” in reference to the conference’s theme, “The Future of the Oil and Gas Industry: 22, Challenges and Development.” According to him, it’s quite clear that developing countries, particularly those in Africa, will be the biggest victims during a rapid energy transition.

Energy transition posed threats to the African oil industry.

This is due to the fact that if the expected technological advancements in renewable energy research and development do not come to fruition as planned, and if the oil and gas industry is abandoned, it could result in a global energy shortage. In such a scenario, the limited energy that is available may be monopolized by wealthier nations. Even if Africa is capable of producing oil and gas, these resources are likely to be directed towards regions with the greatest purchasing power, as it has been observed since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

According to the APPO official, the organization undertook a large-scale study a few years ago on the Future of the Oil and Gas Industry in the Light of the Energy Transition, which found that the energy transition posed three impending threats to the African oil and gas industry. It includes funding, technology/expertise and markets. As per the report, throughout the roughly 100 years that African countries have been producing oil and gas, they have relied largely on foreign funding, assets and international markets.

Advanced nations are responsible for the bulk emissions.

It was further revealed that while the international community is dedicated to a rapid energy transition, Africa has a responsibility to its people to make use of its enormous oil and gas resources to provide them with energy, the most powerful driver for socio-economic growth. Farouq pointed out that Africa itself must pave the way for the continued success of the oil and gas sector. He claims that modern industrialized nations now believe that oil and gas have no viable future in the contemporary world.

As a result of their beliefs, members of this group actively work to prevent further investments and research into the oil and gas industries. Meanwhile, they are concurrently investing heavily in research and development to accelerate the development of renewable energy. Most of the economically and technologically advanced nations make up this group, Farouq said; these are the nations responsible for generating the bulk of the greenhouse gas emissions in the past 150 years, which now pose an imminent climate crisis presently and in the future.

Attendees urged to find ways to fix the country’s oil industry.

Heineken Lokpobiri, Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), spoke at the conference, urging the attendees to find ways to fix the country’s oil industry despite the worldwide movement away from fossil fuels. Lokpobiri emphasized the importance of the attendees developing the innovations necessary to solve the industry’s unique and specific challenges. He assured that he will serve as the assessor of the document that will be put forward later in order to ensure that a solution is devised.

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