By Stephanie Odiase
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has harped on the urgent need for deliberate investments in technology, innovation, exploration, production and commercialization of gas for Nigeria to meet the net zero target set for 2060.
Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji stated this as he outlined key conditions to be considered for meaningful constructive dialogue on Energy Transition, while speaking as special guest at the 2nd German-Nigeria Symposium on Green Hydrogen held in Abuja.
He explained that with the United Nation’s projection of Nigeria’s population expected to rise to over 260million in 2030 and over 400million in the year 2050, there is urgent need for investments in gas for Nigeria to meet the 2060 net zero target.
“Nigeria has identified natural gas as its transition fuel. At over 200 trillion cubic feet, Nigeria has the largest gas reserves in Africa and 9th largest in the world. And with increasing new gas discoveries on the way from ongoing frontier explorations across the country, NEITI believes that gas will play a very important role in the energy transition discus. As you know, gas has the potential to produce blue hydrogen, which, though not as clean as green hydrogen, would be useful in our journey towards cleaner energy sources,” Dr. Orji remarked.
He however, expressed concern that at a time gas is fast surpassing crude oil in revenue generation for resource rich countries, the rate of gas flaring with huge negative consequences on the environmental pollution are on the increase in Nigeria.
He cited NEITI’s recent oil and gas report which disclosed unremitted revenues of over $8.2 billion which arose from liabilities of government agencies as well as oil and gas companies.
A breakdown of the unremitted payments in the report, showed outstanding gas royalty payments of $559.8million and another unremitted sum of $828.8million from unpaid gas flare penalty confirming that more gas was flared in the country during the period than utilized.
Dr. Orji further explained that the upsurge in gas flaring and its consequent revenues loss to the country informed NEITI’s interest to support and encourage the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to fast track the Commission’s on-going gas utilization and commercialization project.
While reaffirming NEITI’s commitment to supporting the country’s transition programme with reliable data, he advised that the country’s net zero pledge should include policies that will help control greenhouse gases produced in Nigeria, concerns for energy security, jobs, livelihoods, the economy and robust citizen’s engagement, as well as deliberate investments in the expansion of gas infrastructure.
The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Annett Gunther, explained that the Symposium was convened by Germany as a product of discussions with the Nigerian government by the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz when he visited Nigeria recently as part of her country’s commitment to support Nigeria’s carbon emission reduction and diversification of her energy resources.
The Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Kunle Salako, who also spoke at the Symposium, welcomed the expansion of the Nigerian German Cooperation in the areas of energy security, diversification and environmental safety and pledged the governments readiness to build on the opportunities that the German-Nigeria Symposium on Green Hydrogen will provide.