Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, including gas producers, have raised concerns over the electricity deficit in Nigeria amid abundant energy resources in the country.
The gas producers said the huge liquidity crisis in the power sector was hampering investments in gas development.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Mele Kyari, and the Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development, Mr Osagie Okunbor, lamented the reliance on generators by many in the country for electricity supply.
They spoke on Tuesday at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja during a panel session tagged ‘How can Africa stand out?’
Kyari said there was a need to resolve the issue of electricity supply in the country amid the global energy transition from the use of fossil fuels (such as petrol and diesel) to renewable energy.
“For this country and very many of us in sub-Saharan Africa, what we worry about today is actually the meals of today. There are many who can’t afford a meal a day. And of course, electricity is largely a luxury; it’s only for the elite like all of us here,” he said.
Total power generation in the country stood at 3,899.3 megawatts as of 6am on Monday, according to the Nigerian Electricity System Operator.
Kyari said, “It is the dream of very many to have I-pass-my-neighbour in their homes. When you say, ‘Do not use fossil fuel,’ you are saying that ‘park this.’ You have not provided alternatives. The world has not looked at their situation. The world has not recognised that there is abject poverty in the communities.”
Okunbor said oil and gas production, which reportedly accounted for 90 per cent of the country’s export revenues, only contributed 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.
He said, “What that essentially says is that the multiplier effect of having these important resources simply doesn’t exist.
“I was staggered to see a sheer number of people in this country across all geopolitical zones who rely on firewood as a primary source of energy.”
Okunbor stressed the need to de-risk the entire value chain for issues like gas supply to power plants.
The President, Nigerian Gas Association, Mrs Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, said the liquidity crisis in the nation’s power sector needed to be addressed.
According to her, the issues in the sector revolved around tariff, structure and bankability of projects.
Joe-Ezigbo said the only way to deal with decades-long infrastructural deficit was by creating the enabling fiscal, regulatory and commercial environment that allowed for investment capital to come into Nigeria.
Source: The Punch