The global energy sector has witnessed tremendous shifts, resulting in a growing focus on energy sustainability and reduced reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation. As the world experiences this shift to cleaner energy sources, energy companies are faced with the responsibility of meeting these needs by recognising both the challenges and the opportunities.
Levene Energy Holdings, a leading integrated energy conglomerate with operations in the upstream, downstream, midstream, and renewable energy sub-sectors in the oil and gas industry, stands at the forefront of this transformation of the energy landscape in the Nigerian context.
Since the late 1960s, the Nigerian economy has been primarily driven by the oil and gas sector. This is following the great oil price increase between 1973 and 1974, a period when oil and gas contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) skyrocketed from 2.79% to 27% (by World Bank estimates). Despite fluctuations in gas prices in recent years that have shaped economic inflation patterns, a 2022 report by the National Bureau of Statistics reveals Nigeria amassed about 80% of its revenue from oil and gas exports.
Despite having such an impact on the nation’s economy, the sector yet faces a set of unique challenges, which include skills and capacity gaps, environmental impact, infrastructure deficiencies, fluctuating oil prices, lack of diversification, and security of supply chains. Additionally, a recent publication in the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that demand for petroleum products will start to decline from 2028. Hence, adopting renewable energy sources to power and fuel the economy is a no-brainer.
“The shift to a clean energy economy is picking up pace, with a peak in global oil demand in sight before the end of this decade, as electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and other technologies advance. Oil producers need to pay careful attention to the gathering pace of change and calibrate their investment decisions to ensure an orderly transition,” said IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol.
A 2021 WorldData report estimates that Nigeria’s energy mix comprises 79.9% of fossil fuels, with hydropower as its largest clean energy source accounting for 21.7%. To be sure, Nigeria is steadily inching toward adopting renewable energy and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels while simultaneously reducing its carbon emissions through various initiatives.
Certainly, the path to renewables isn’t a linear one, especially in the face of a dearth of infrastructure that mitigates seamless transitioning. Levene Energy Holdings understands the dynamics behind attaining such feats. It operates across all stages of the oil and gas value chain, from exploration and production to distribution and end-user delivery, relying on global best practices that prioritise sustainability and facilitate transitioning to renewables.
For numerous countries undergoing the transition to renewable energy sources, a pivotal measure towards attaining net zero emissions lies in the adoption of low-carbon fuels, such as natural gas. This approach allows for a gradual shift while affording time to establish the requisite infrastructure. Notably, Nigeria has embarked on this transition journey following the signing of a significant strategic partnership deal (and Unincorporated Joint Venture Agreement of UJVA) earlier this year between Levene Energy Holdings and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited. The core objective of this collaboration is to build and manage a comprehensive gas pipeline network spanning various locations in the country.
As an indigenous energy company with a global outlook, Levene Energy Holdings has continued to maintain its status as a significant player in the oil and gas space by aligning with global energy trends and fostering collaborations with other leading energy outfits from across the globe, thus enabling it to navigate the ever-changing energy landscape, facilitate technology transfer and expertise exchange, enabling the company to expand its reach beyond its domestic borders to maximise its impact globally.
In response to the pressing need to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, Levene Energy Holdings has taken a proactive approach by embracing renewable energy projects that tap into Nigeria’s abundant natural resources. By implementing these sustainable solutions, the company aims to make a substantial contribution to improving the country’s energy mix.
So far, the energy conglomerate has hit the ground running with several renewable energy projects that target all socioeconomic strata, ranging from providing cost-effective energy solutions for companies and meeting the basic energy needs of underserved communities that are not connected to the centralised national energy grid.
Levene Energy Holdings places a strong emphasis on innovation and technological advancements. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, data analytics, and smart grid solutions, it optimises its operations for greater efficiency while minimising environmental impact, a core trait of any energy company seeking to solidify its stance and expand beyond its local operations.
Despite being a global player, Levene Energy Holdings maintains strong ties with the local communities. This admirable trait has seen the company establish a robust relationship with key stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, leading organic growth by expanding its assets to boost oil production from 30,000 bbls to 45,000 bbls.
Following a similar approach, Levene Energy Holdings has obtained bitumen exploration licences in Southwest Nigeria (Ogun State) and further expanded its presence by acquiring four oil blocks in Equatorial Guinea. The company is also actively exploring opportunities in other countries across northern and western Africa.
Bitumen, a hydrocarbon with diverse use, is essential in many industrial processes, such as road construction, production of roofing materials, waterproofing and more. In 2022, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, stated that Nigeria has a 70% road infrastructure deficit, which he attributes to the expensive importation of raw materials like bitumen. He emphasised that by locally producing bitumen, construction costs would decrease, leading to improved purchasing power and increased investment in road infrastructure.
Road infrastructure is one of the many ways bitumen impacts local industries; its effect in other sectors is significant as well. The paint industry relies heavily on bitumen for the production of high-quality paints and coatings. Here, bitumen acts as the essential binder of pigment and other compounds to produce durable paints that are resistant to weathering and water damage.
Bitumen is thick, viscous and water-resistant. All these properties play an important role against water penetration, which ensures the durability of roofing materials. Bitumen roofing is created by blending bitumen and reinforcing it with materials like fibreglass or polyester that are impervious to UV radiation, ensuring durability over an extended period. Additionally, bitumen’s adhesive properties also find use in the production of sealants that are used for bonding other materials like metal, concrete, and wood, ensuring that these materials remain intact by providing long-lasting protection against air and water leaks.
Circling back to the generation of fossil fuel energy sources such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, bitumen undergoes the process of ‘upgrading’ to remove impurities and separating into these distinct components. Through the process of refining, bitumen is transformed into lighter derivatives, which encompass lubricants and a diverse range of petrochemicals utilised in the production of plastics and pharmaceuticals.
Through these strategic endeavours, Levene Energy Holdings remains committed to empowering local communities by generating job opportunities, fostering skills development, and initiating community development projects. By placing a strong emphasis on social responsibility, the company ensures that its progress is both inclusive and sustainable.
Levene Energy Holdings stands as an example of resilience in the face of a changing world. As the global energy landscape shifts towards sustainability and renewable energy sources, the company has taken the initiative to adapt and embrace this transformation. By recognising the challenges and opportunities presented by this shift, it has strategically positioned itself to navigate the evolving energy market.
The energy conglomerate envisions a future where Nigeria’s energy sector thrives in harmony with the planet. By continually evolving and adapting to market shifts, embracing sustainability, and investing in innovation, Levene Energy Holdings is well-positioned to steer Nigeria towards a cleaner, brighter, and more resilient energy future.
*Adebiyi is the Executive Director, Upstream and Engineering Services, Levene Energy Holdings.