By Abubakar Yunusa
Nigeria and its African neighbours have been described as the biggest victims of the speedy energy transition being championed by the developed world.
Speaking at the 3rd Biennial International Conference on Hydrocarbon Science and Technology, organised by the Petroleum Training Institute in Abuja on Monday, the Secretary-General, African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation, Omar Farouk, said the nations of Africa were being coerced to stop the exploration of fossils.
He, however, pointed out that Nigeria and other nations on the continent, owe their people a duty to utilise the abundant oil and gas resources in their various domains for the development of their economies.
APPO is the African inter-governmental oil and gas organisation with 18 member countries.
Commenting on the theme of the conference, which was, ‘The Future of the Oil and Gas Industry: Opportunities, Challenges and Development,’ Farouq stated that “we (APPO) very often receive enquiries about the future of oil and gas.”
He said, “It is obvious that the biggest victims of a speedy energy transition shall be the developing countries, especially those from Africa.
“This is because, should the anticipated technological breakthroughs in renewable energy research and development fail to materialise by the time they are expected to be fully deployed, and at the same time the oil and gas industry has been abandoned, leading to a shortage in global energy supplies, the little energy that is available shall be cornered by the rich countries.
“Even if Africa is able to produce oil and gas, their final destination is going to be where the purchasing power is highest, just like it has been happening since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war.”
The APPO official stated that a major study conducted by the organisation a couple of years ago on the Future of the Oil and Gas Industry in the Light of the Energy Transition, identified three imminent challenges that the energy transition posed to the African oil and gas industry.
“These are funding, technology/expertise and markets. The study noted that in the nearly 100 years that Africa has been producing oil and gas, our countries have been heavily dependent on foreign funding, foreign technology and to some extent expertise and foreign markets.
“The study further noted that while the world is committed to a speedy energy transition, Africa owes its people a duty to utilise its abundant oil and gas resources to provide them energy, which is the most potent catalyst for socio-economic development. In other words, Africa must create a future for the oil and gas industry,” Farouq stated.
According to him, the developed world now believes that oil and gas have no future in the contemporary world.
“Because of this belief, members of this school strive, through various policies and actions, to discourage investments and research in oil and gas. At the same time, they work to promote the growth of renewables through huge investments in research and development.
“A defining characteristic of this group is that it is made up mostly of the economically and technologically developed countries of the world, countries that, in the last 150 years, contributed the vast majority of the emissions that we are today told constitutes an imminent climate catastrophe for us and future generations,” Farouq stated.
In his address at the conference, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, charged participants at the gathering to come up with solutions to address the problem in the Nigerian oil sector regardless of the global push against fossils.
“You must be able to come up with technologies that we need to address our local and peculiar problems in the industry. I’ll be the assessor of the document that will be put together at the end of this conference, so as to ensure that we get solutions for this sector,” he stated.