Balancing Nigeria’s energy transition

AdobeStock 412988831Speaking virtually at the International Energy Week 2022, Dr Mele Kolo Kyari, Group managing director and CEO, of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, discussed how the country is striving towards net zero by 2060 whilst also redressing the country’s energy deficiencies

Kyari said that Nigeria has committed to reaching net-zero by 2060 but perhaps a more pressing issue is that around 60-70% of Nigerians are currently in some form of energy poverty. In addition to this, partly due to the reliance on biofuels, the Saharan desert advances two kilometre into the country each year. 

“Our country’s commitment to 2060 is anchored around what we can do now, which is to see how we can leverage our natural gas resources to cut down the impact on the environment by reducing the cutting down of trees and forests.” 

Kyari noted he had heard suggestions that the county could ‘skip’ the natural gas phase and move directly to cleaner fuels but said that, as most of the country’s revenue comes from gas, it is incredibly difficult to cut it off immediately. He also remarked that the African continent contributes just 3% of global emissions, suggesting there were more pressing issues to be addressed elsewhere. 

“I am not saying we are looking to catch up with the world (in emissions) but there needs to be some balancing and justice as we progress. We must have some kind of transition but our pathway is different.” 

While bringing in renewables is important, and it is something the country is looking to do, there are limitations to this power source and Kyari suggested that it is crucial for the country to concentrate on gas development and infrastructure to meet the energy demands of the country and its neighbours. In the next ten years, Nigeria’s focus will be on limiting flaring and replacing heavier fuels and biofuels by developing a cleaner natural gas utilisation framework 

“We our accelerating our plans to make LNG more available for customers so that they can switch from biomass to gas. This will have a softer impact on the environment and will stop the cutting down of trees. We are doing things differently so that we all contribute collectively to achieving net zero.”

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