Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Saturday, insisted that while the global call for a transition to cleaner fuels may be valid, it would be unreasonable for Nigeria to abandon her fossil fuel deposits at the moment.
Osinbajo spoke at the launch of a book in Abuja titled: “Understanding Natural Gas, a Nigerian Perspective,” authored by Dr. David Ige, a former Executive Director in charge of Gas and Power at the NNPC, and Dapo Akinosun, a senior lawyer.
Osinbajo observed that in recent months, natural gas has taken the centre stage in global politics, especially with the war in Ukraine going on, a strong reminder of the complexity of energy security concerns that nations now face.
He noted that as gas prices started skyrocketing, countries have been forced to confront the vulnerabilities of their energy supply strategies, including Europe and America.
“The key question, of course for us, is how does Nigeria respond? How do we position ourselves to the vantage point of a nation with abundant energy resources, working assiduously to diversify its energy resources, develop domestic resources, enhance energy efficiency, and strengthen our infrastructure?
“Our nation like others around the world, finds itself in a situation where we must navigate this challenging transition wisely and economic future in very clear perspective,” he explained.
According to him, the push to phase out fossil fuels quickly and discourage new investments in related projects is fast gaining momentum, stressing that Nigeria must take the call to action seriously, not just for the sake of the environment, but also for the economy and her people.
“It’s important that we must emphasise that while climate change is an existential threat, our energy poverty and our development is also a major threat. And so, we must find a way of balancing it. I think that this will involve a faithful implementation of our Energy Transition Plan, which involves the implementation of the decade of gas proposals,” he said.
He pointed out that there were attempts to chart a pathway to renewable energy as the bedrock to develop 250 gigawatts of solar power by 2060, which is when Nigeria intends to hit net zero.
He further highlighted the role of gas as a transition from heavier fossil fuels.“No country has yet been known to develop its energy industry solely on renewable energy. And therefore, the call for us to do so solely on renewable energy is unreasonable. So, they must take into account the fact that we are a gas-rich country and that we require gas not just for industry, but also to even be able to effectively use solar power, especially on our grid,” he stated.
The vice president said that Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) remains a viable alternative to total abandonment of fossil fuels, especially in the transition period.
He commended the authors of the book, saying it is an important book and one of the few technical texts that has a strong policy and legal perspective. He also highlighted that the book is simple to read.
In his remarks, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has called on the federal government to deepen investments in gas exploration.
Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, said Nigeria was on course to realising the decade of gas aspiration.