The Federal Government has approved a plan by Seplat Energy Plc to end the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and end gas flaring in 2024.
The approval came at the second yearly Seplat Energy Summit in Abuja, themed, “Global Trends in Energy Transition: the African Perspective.”
It attracted experts from private and public sectors, including top government functionaries, ministers, governors, members of the National Assembly, royal fathers from Seplat Energy’s host communities, leaders of public and private institutions, investors and heads of shareholders.
Seplat also used the opportunity of the summit to declare a change of name from Seplat Petroleum to Seplat Energy Plc and reveal its new logo.
The Chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, A.B.C. Orjiako, stated that the change mirrors the company’s belief that the greatest opportunity ahead is to provide the right mix of energy for Nigeria’s fast growing population.
In his opening speech, he unveiled his company’s plan to transit to cleaner energy by putting an end to gas flaring in its operations, six years ahead of the government target.
According to him, Seplat Energy will terminate gas burning by 2024, and will ensure replacement of firewood in homes with Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), a cleaner energy source.
The decision, he said, would make sure the environment is safe. He also declared a tree-planting move, which would start soon, with the attendant benefits of youth employment and a cleaner environment.
“Replacing diesel generators with cleaner renewable energy will definitely solve Nigeria’s power deficit,” he added.
The presentation was welcomed by endorsements by ministers, royal fathers and other dignitaries present. The Special Guest of Honour at the summit, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, represented by Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Environment, emphasized the need for policies that must align with energy security, to bring up a smooth energy transition across various areas of energy demand.
He also reiterated the importance of the summit, stating: “Over the next decade, every segment in Nigeria will be affected by this shift in energy supply and demands.”
Responding to the presentation of Sependorsementlat’s transition plan, Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State, Environment, gave the first approval, stating that her ministry would back and follow the plan.
It was also endorsed by Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, among others.
Sylva also used the opportunity of the summit to reiterate the Federal Government’s dedication to deregulation, noting that the government had no option but to deregulate the downstream petroleum sector fully.
According to him, this indicates that Nigerians should be ready to pay for the actual cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
“The deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector is yet another strategy proposed to enable energy transition in Nigeria.
Government is in the process of fully deregulating the downstream petroleum sector which will end subsidies and free up funds for national development, including investment in renewables which will be part of the energy mix that ultimately powers our economy,” he said, even as he announced opposition by the Federal Government of a single pathway to energy transition and opted for multiple approaches.
A panelist at the event and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, emphasized the need for Nigerians to move from talking about the transition to actualizing the energy change.
He said: “What we should talk about is energy remix. When you look at the years in which we transitioned from coal to oil, it was about 160 years and today Nigeria is very rich in gas and if we want to transit successfully as a country, then we must transit our destination fuel to gas.
“But this cannot happen if we sit down and continue to have this conversation without taking action because when we went from coal to oil, we did nothing and we were forced to follow the trajectory. Now, if the world moves from oil to renewable, we will also be pushed to focus on renewable and abandon our God-given resources.”