Elon Musk Backs Calls for Extraction of More Hydrocarbons

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja with agency report

The world must continue to extract oil and gas in order to sustain civilisation, while also developing sustainable sources of energy, Tesla founder, Elon Musk has told reporters at a conference in Norway.

The position of the world’s richest man aligns with that of Nigeria, which has always held that the view that the world cannot jettison fossil fuels overnight with the high energy poverty on the continent.

Currently, there are more than 600 million people in Africa who have little or no access to electricity and 900 million who lack safe and clean cooking fuels, according to global energy data.

“Global leaders need to be reminded that for billions, the day does not start by switching on a light, opening a refrigerator or turning the ignition on a car. Access to affordable and reliable modern energy is a must for everyone.

“There are some who believe the oil and gas industries should not be part of the energy future, that they should be consigned to the past, and that the future is one that can be dominated by renewables and electric vehicles.

“ We need to counter this evolving narrative,” the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently explained.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on its part has said that it will focus more on gas exploration as a transition fuel as well as deploy new technology like the Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) to achieve cleaner fuels.

“Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise civilisation will crumble,” Musk said on the sidelines of an energy conference in the southern city of Stavanger.

 “I think some additional exploration is warranted at this time. One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy. That will take some decades to complete,” he argued.

He said offshore wind power generation in the North Sea, combined with stationary battery packs, could become a key source of energy. “It could provide a strong, sustainable energy source in winter,” he said.

He also voiced concerns over birth rates, echoing remarks he made in a Twitter post late last week on the risks of “population collapse”.

“One of my less obvious things to be concerned about is the birth rate, and I think it’s important that people have enough babies to support civilisation so that we don’t dwindle away,” Musk said.

 Musk said he aimed to get the electric auto maker’s self-driving technology ready by year-end and hopes it could be in wide release in the United States and possibly in Europe, depending on regulatory approval. He said his attention was currently focused on his SpaceX Starship spacecraft and self-driving Tesla electric cars, according to a Reuters report.

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