Minister of State Petroleum Resources Chief Timipre Sylva has attributed the inability of Nigeria to meet the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to lack of investments in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
Nigeria’s OPEC quota is pegged at 1.8 million bpd but in the last few years, the country has struggled between 1.3 and 1.4 million bpd.
Speaking at a ministerial plenary, at the ongoing Ceraweek, in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday, Sylva said the speed with which international oil companies and other investors were withdrawing investments in hydrocarbon exploitation has contributed significantly to Nigeria’s inability to meet OPEC target.
In a statement, Senior Adviser (Media & Communications) to the minister, Horatius Egua, quoted Sylva as saying that “the rate at which investments was taken away was too fast. Lack of investment in the oil and gas sector contributed to Nigeria’s ability to meet OPEC quota. We are not able to get the needed investments to develop the sector and that affected us”.
He also cited security challenges as another major factor that contributed to the lack of significant growth of the sector in the country and added that the drive towards renewable energy by climate enthusiasts has discouraged funding for the sector.
Sylva, however called for a change of attitude stressing that in decades to come hydrocarbon will continue to play a central role in meeting the energy needs of the world.
The minister who is an advocate of gas as a transition fuel for Africa said although Nigeria was in full support of the energy transition, however noted that Nigeria and the African continent should be allowed to develop at its own pace to be able to meet the energy needs of the over 600 million people who have no access to any form of power in Africa.
He said “there are about 600 million people in Africa without access to power and of that number the majority live in Nigeria. And of the over 900 million people without access to power in the world, the majority live in Africa. So how do we provide access to power for these people if you say we should not produce gas”?
He maintained that Nigeria was not in any way against any transition programme but urged promoters of renewable energy as the only path to energy transition to give the less fortunate countries of the world the opportunity to achieve energy sufficiency before doing away with fossil fuel.