*Says continent not obligated to the world on reduction of fossil fuel production
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Gabriel Aduda, has stated that the Nigerian government was currently bidding hard to become the host country for the upcoming African Energy Bank (AEB).
Aduda, also dispelled the position of anti-fossil fuel advocates otherwise known as climate change and energy transition campaigners, saying Africa was not obligated to the world to reduce its oil and gas production but to contribute in de-carbonisation and emission reduction.
The Permanent Secretary stated these in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, while giving his closing remarks on the last day of this year’s Practical Nigerian Content (PNC), where he cautioned African countries not to blindly focus on climate change to the detriment of the continents huge fossil fuels resources left in the ground
The theme of the forum organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) was, “Deepening Nigerian Content Amidst Divestment, Domestication and Decarbonisation.”
The chief promoter of the AEB, the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), working in synergy with the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim-bank) had pledged $5 billion for the establishment of the energy bank, which would significantly help in advancing oil and gas projects across oil-producing member countries.
However, Afreximbank had said last November, that the proposed African Energy Bank would be inaugurated in June 2024 to mitigate the crisis in the continent’s energy sector.
At a budgeted share per capital of $5 million, Afreximbank had said the proposed AEB would be able to help African oil-producing member-states to take advantage of the over 125 billion barrel reserves of oil and that of the over 75 trillion cubic feet of gas present on the African continent.
But speaking at the session in Bayelsa, Aduda also urged oil and gas industry stakeholders not to be discouraged by the anti-fossil fuels projections, but to remain resilient as the government was also working to ensure that the country was able to continue to take advantage of the enormous crude oil resources in the country.
He acknowledged efforts being made by the NCDMB to grow local content in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and enable the country take advantage of its hydrocarbon resources, noting that the federal government was also complementing such efforts to support the players.
He stated: “At the federal level, we are working to see that we support. A lot is in play and just yesterday, the Executive Secretary took his time to reel out laws, the technical support, the financial support, now research has been added, and all these are put in place for you to be able to take advantage of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
“Apart from that, the government is working right now, and we are bidding hard to bring the African energy bank to Nigeria. We want to host it here; we want the headquarters of the African energy bank to be here in Nigeria.
“And why is the African Petroleum Producers Organisation pushing for the African Energy Bank? It’s simply because very soon, we know that the western world is going to use funding against us, against the development of fossil fuels.
“We are saying no, we are going to put up our own bank that can support Africa because what we owe the world actually is reduction in carbonisation and harmful emission, but we do not owe the world a reduction in the production of fossil fuel.”
He maintained that Africa cannot leave the certainty of fossil fuel and begin to pursue an uncertain future with renewables, advising African people not to allow the continent to be emasculated by the world into their own agenda.
Aduda, explained that the complete shift towards renewable energy would only further destroy the environment which the climate team was fighting against.
“People talk about renewable, yes! We didn’t say you should not make up renewable, we are not fighting the energy mix, we are doing the best that we can, but at what expense?
“Because number one, renewable don’t come cheap. Try putting solar and see, try putting up turbine and see, try building the batteries; first you’ll need the Nikon, the Cobalt, the Lithium, and all that.
“Where do you get them from? In Africa. How do you get them? We have to increase mining activity over a thousand percentage, and at the end of the day, we deplete the same environment that the climate team is fighting against. So, this simply doesn’t make sense,” he noted.
The Permanent Secretary also told the stakeholders and participants not to be discouraged in pushing Local Content agenda, pointing out that even the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at the ongoing Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28) made it very clear that all OPEC countries were only committed to reducing emission and not to reduce production.
He said that Africa should understand that fossil fuels were not going anywhere soon as over 80 per cent of world transportation and energy was still being run by fossil fuel.
“I think in next 100 years we will still be here. And you must ask yourselves, most of the cosmetics that you use, where do they come from?”, he asked.