Seplat committed to just, affordable energy transition – CEO

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Lagos, Nov. 15, 2022 Seplat Energy Plc, says its commitment to a just and affordable energy transition is unwavering.

The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Roger Brown, said this at the opening ceremony of the 40th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) in Lagos on Tuesday.

Naija247news reports that the conference is themed: “Global Energy Transition and the Future of the Oil and Gas Industry: Evolving Regulations, Emerging Concepts and Opportunities.”

Brown said the company’s ANOH and upgraded Sapele gas projects could fuel another 2,000 megawatts of electricity by 2024.

“Using gas to provide more affordable and reliable energy will boost Nigeria’s economy, drive development, create jobs and prosperity, reduce emissions from diesel usage, support future renewable deployment and enable a just and affordable energy transition,” he said.

According to him, Seplat Energy currently operates 300MMscfd, which is enough to power more than 1GW per day.

He said the country needed to utilise gas to displace 20GW diesel/petrol generators as well as the use of biomass as cooking fuel.

“Beyond displacement, however, Seplat Energy believes that increased gas production and penetration in Nigeria present huge opportunities for the Nigerian state and people.

“The global quest to reach net zero emissions means energy companies must start to shift away from a heavy reliance on fossil fuels and invest in lower carbon alternatives.

“Banks are also facing their own pressure to cut back on fossil fuel investments and have started to pull back from financing the industry,” he said.

Brown explained that global demand for fossil fuels was forecast to decline significantly in the long term but would still be relevant in meeting the energy demand, particularly with a growing world population expected to reach 10bn by 2050+.

“The importance of gas as a transition fuel (main baseload for electricity generation) in energy-deprived countries like Nigeria ensures demand remains substantial.

“However, to gain access to the capital needed to develop energy, commitments to and most importantly delivery of renewable energy will be essential,” he added.

The Seplat Energy boss told the participants at the conference that it was encouraging that a “Just and Affordable Energy Transition” was on the agenda at COP 27 as energy transition was about balancing realities.

“This is a welcome development,” he said, adding that: “Currently, most Nigerians lack access to affordable, reliable energy, which hampers development.

“Poor infrastructure cum theft of national resources, over-reliance on oil exports and imports of refined products, global decarbonisation imbalance with development and extreme flooding, amongst others, are some of the challenges to be considered,” he said.

Speaking on the need for collaboration given today’s realities, Brown maintained that: “Global warming is real and as an industry operating in Nigeria, we need to do our share of addressing the issue (therefore we need to transition to a lower carbon future).

“However, today we are faced with some of the highest electricity prices in the world brought about by an over reliance on oil generated electricity, through off-grid mini generators (petrol and diesel) estimated to be almost 15 million in number.

“High electricity prices result in a barrier for development of essential social needs in healthcare, education, food security and employment for a population set to double in the next three decades.

“It is critical, therefore, to balance global warming mitigation with access to affordable and reliable energy for all.

“We must make our oil sector efficient and less carbon intensive, as well developing our huge gas resources as a short to medium term objective.

“The oil sector (cash cow) revenues need to fund this transition.”

With a functioning grid system as we see elsewhere in the world, the Seplat CEO said: “We can then develop larger scale solar, hydro and potentially wind power to reduce GHG intensity.

“This will enable Nigeria to increase access to energy for all and move from just over 50 per cent of the population with access to electricity, towards the world average of around 90 per cent.”

Naija247news reports that the conference had in attendance industry regulators, players, service companies, financial institutions, analysts and the media, among other energy stakeholders in Nigeria and overseas.