Nigeria: Stakeholders commit to eradication of energy poverty

Stakeholders in the energy sector have deliberated on successful energy transition in Nigeria and Africa, in order to curb the over reliance on oil and to turn attention to renewal energy, which they said will in turn improve the livelihoods of Nigerians, especially through zero fossils and net zero fossils.

They made their positions known during the 2021 Seplat Energy Summit, in Abuja, which was held recently in Abuja.

Many of the stakeholders revealed that the transition will present business opportunities for Nigerian investors, including the development of gas-to-power initiative, development of LPG markets to alleviate use of biomass and development of renewable energy to serve large areas of the country not currently served by the national grid.

Addressing participants at the Summit, Chairman and Co-Founder Seplat Energy Plc, Dr ABC Orjiako, said that tackling energy poverty in Nigeria and Africa remains the priority of the organization, revealing that it has put measures in place to ensure that gas flare emissions from its areas of operations are stopped in 2024, six years before the 2030 deadline given by the federal government.

He said: “This year’s summit means so much to us, because the theme is on climate change and energy transition. Energy transition has evolved in different forms over the years. The current form is on climate action plan. There is a global consensus on what has to be done regarding climate change and the consensus is that something must be done by everyone with respect to decarbonisation. Energy transition, from the African perspective, is all about balancing the very severe energy poverty in Nigeria and Africa, with the provision of the right energy mix that will provide the solution.

“Just contextualize this, in Africa today, we have the largest population of people who are in darkness. Therefore, it is going to be a paradox of sorts if we focus on just reducing carbon emissions and then jettison all the operations that we have.

“Therefore, from the Seplat perspective, in providing these solutions, we are focusing on a number of things and number on, among this, is to change the way we do things. We have identified gas as the real transition fuel and for that reason Seplat today delivers 30 per cent gas for power in Nigeria. We are very aligned to the Federal Government’s initiative in this regard and we can only see this increasing. We hope to increase to between 40 and 40 per cent next year.

“As a company, not only are we committed to the way we do our business. We have decided to stop the 2.8 million metric tonnes of gas flare emissions from our areas of operations, in 2024, six years before the deadline. We are fighting to make sure that our environment is protected when it comes to our Spoke 1, Spoke 2 renewal energy initiatives.

“We believe that removing the already emitted green house emissions is key, so, from first quarter of next year, Seplat will be launching our tree planting initiative in Nigeria. This is because planting of trees removes more carbon dioxide being produced, so you will be seeing the Tree For Life by Seplat come first quarter of next year. This will drive youth unemployment, check desert encroachment, among others.”

On his part, Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, endorsed Seplat Energy as the flagship company that drives Nigeria’s energy transition, saying that multiple pathways to the energy

or power supply and directions within and across the country,” he said.

In attendance were Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (represented by Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor), Minister of Science, and Innovations, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, CEO of TotalEnergies, Mike Sangaster, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, Group Managing Director of Nigerian Exchange Group, Oscar Onyema, traditional rulers from Seplat Energy’s host communities, investors and shareholders in energy sector, among others.