By Emmanuel Addeh
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has urged African leaders to leverage emerging technologies and innovation to curtail the energy poverty in the continent.
Kyari, who made the comment at the first quarter 2021 Public Lecture Series of Usman Dan-Fodio University, Sokoto, recently, explained that though the global transition to renewable energy would keep gaining momentum, crude oil will continue to be relevant in the coming decades.
However, he noted that the NNPC was fully prepared to lead Africa in transition to low-carbon and renewable energy, but admitted that renewables will likely not be enough to satisfy the growing world energy need.
He said: “African governments and institutions must therefore rise to the occasion, to leverage technology and innovation to support energy sufficiency, industrialisation, job creation and economic growth.
“Global transition to renewable energy will definitely continue to gain momentum, but the pace may not be fast enough to offset the impacts of worldwide economic expansion and population growth.
“Oil will remain very much relevant in today’s global energy mix and the future. But as transition to cleaner energy gains momentum especially across the developed countries, oil companies must continuously improve operational efficiency and reduce their costs to remain relevant.”
He posited that global energy consumption would grow from 2018 levels by about 50 per cent by 2050, stressing that it was apparent that oil and gas will continue to be a crucial component of the world’s future energy.
“The world will keep burning significant proportion of fossil fuels to sustain the anticipated progress and growth, especially in Asia and Africa.
“Modern day energy transition is hinged on the desire to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
“Movers of this interest are motivated by among others, the quest for sustainable energy supply, climate change considerations, enabling technologies, innovations and the overall socio-economic impact of the transition,” he noted.
The GMD opined that the later discovery of crude oil as an important energy source of the 20th century had supported tremendous economic and technological growth the world over.
According to kyari, scientific development and advancement in technology have over the years shaped the dominance of oil as primary energy source and as a game changer in the progress of human society.
“Oil industry has changed the fortunes of both producing and consuming nations, creating wealth and prosperity that catalysed the growth of other sectors of the global economy,” he opined.
The NNPC boss further called for the diversification of energy sources so as to improve global access to energy especially in developing countries and urged all stakeholders to collaborate if this is to be made possible.
“The growth of oil industry is in many ways associated with the industry’s strategic role of powering the global economy and the collaborative interests of key stakeholders including policy makers, the academia, manufacturers and other experts.
“These stakeholders shape the direction of the industry and continuously improve capabilities across exploration, deep offshore access, shale oil production, oil and gas processing and transportation.
“This type of collaborative trend is again critical in navigating the next energy transition. The oil and gas industry alone cannot drive substantial innovation without sustained collaboration with universities, research institutes, manufacturers, policy makers and regulators,” he noted.