Climate Change: NRGI, CJID Urge Collaborative Effort To Reduce Methane Emission

Group photograph of participants at the workshop in Abuja

By Juliet Ukanwosu

The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) in partnership with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) has emphasized the need for collaborative stakeholder effort towards reducing methane emission in Nigeria.

This position was amplified during a 3-day workshop on “Methane Emissions Reduction in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector” organized for media and civil society organisations aimed at empowering them to better understand, monitor and influence Nigeria’s methane emissions reduction efforts.

Speaking on the topic, Climate Change, Energy Transition and the importance of Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions, NRGI’s Rob Pitman, informed that GHG reporting is now captured in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) standard, making it a resource governance issue.

He explained that methane reduction will not only benefit climate change but can also make projects more competitive, improve local health, turn waste to economic opportunity, among others.

According to Pitman, while the World Bank estimates that gas flared in Nigeria between 2018 to 2022 is equivalent of $4billion, the International Energy Agency (IEA) on the other hand, estimates that about 40% of Nigeria’s emissions can be avoided at no additional cost, but by adherence to best practice.

Some participants displaying their certificates

In his presentation themed ‘Emissions Transparency 101’, RMI’s TJ Conway, said methane has contributed about 30% of total warming so far, adding that it is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, hence the need to focus on reducing its emission.

Conway informed that Nigeria is among the world top 10 methane emitter with leakage and flaring as the major cause. He said Nigeria flared an estimated 5.3 billion cubic meters of gas in 2022, according to the World Bank. Putting the data in a relatable context, he said the amount of gas flared in 2022 was equivalent to about 177million 12.5kg cylinders which could have gone to households for clean cooking.

For his part, Charles Ofori, Team Lead, African Centre for Energy policy, in his presentation, ‘Management of operational GHG emissions in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector with regional context’, maintained that existing technology can prevent up to 70% of current emissions.

Referencing examples of methane emissions reduction efforts regionally, he added that Nigeria with its ambitious energy transition policies and targets, presents as a front liner to reduce emission. Ofori however, said collaborative effort, policy alignment and strategic implementation of Nigeria’s energy transition plan are needed for the country to achieve its climate goals and exit the list of top polluters, with its attendant negative effect on lives and the environment.

Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya, who commended the organisers of the training, noted that the growing reality of energy transition and the strong linkage with emissions control , especially methane, underscore the importance to constantly expose stakeholders to such trainings,

“At a time when Nigeria is grappling with huge challenges in energy financing, low capacity utilisation and poor energy infrastructure,  the global transition to renewable energy creates a future that we cannot totally ignore,” Orji said.

he added that NEITI sees the future of energy transition opportunities in the areas of investment in technology, solid minerals, human capital development, transportation, agriculture, food security, manufacturing use of low carbon hydrogen and gas exploration.

While setting the background and context for the training, Senior officer, NRGI, Nigeria Program, Tengi George-Ikoli, explained that the training was intended to help participants better understand the basics of energy transition, demonstrate how energy transition connects with climate change and draw linkages between Nigeria’s energy transition efforts, national and global commitment to reduce methane emissions.

Extractive360’s Juliet Ukanwosu (middle) receiving her certificate from NRGI’s Tengi George-Ikoli, and Rob Pitman 

She added that a key objective of the training was to make stakeholders understand why emissions, and methane in particular, are becoming increasingly important to resource governance debates including financial mechanisms and incentives.

Also Speaking at the event, Nafi Chinery, NRGI’s Africa Director, who empasised the need for countries to transition from fossil fuels and its devastating effects, however, stressed that it is also very critical to pay attention to how we transition.

“It is pertinent for Nigeria to address its huge developmental needs, including energy access, to be able to move away from fossil fuel. It is also critical for us to pay attention to how we do this,” Chinery pointed out, while pledging the NRGI’s commitment to continue to work with partners in Nigeria to hold conversations targeted at strengthening implementation of Nigeria’s energy transition plans.

Participants who were drawn from various civil society organisations with national and sub-national presence, as well as a mix of print, electronic, and online journalists, were presented with certificates at the end of the training.

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