Developed Nations Should Compensate Nigeria, Others With Energy Transition Funding – Waltersmith MD

Nigerian indigenous oil and gas company, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, said that energy transition will only be ‘just’ when the West and other developed countries provide free funding for Nigeria and other African countries to transit.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Waltersmith, Chikezie Nwosu, made the argument as the $410bn needed by the Federal Government to fund energy transition by 2060 is becoming a challenge for Africa’s biggest oil producer.

The amount translates to $10bn annually separate from the yearly budget which funding has been frustrated by dwindling oil revenues.

Nwosu who leads the oil and gas firm stated his position at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN), held in Abuja.

The MD believes that “there is no chance that the money is going to be obtained in that time frame and utilized for renewable energy.”

Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said the country’s Crude Oil reserves as of January 31, this year was 37.046 billion barrels and Gas reserves at 208.62TCF.

According to him, Nigeria should focus more on using its hydrocarbon deposits to provide reliable and cheap energy for its over 200 million population.

He said, “I don’t know where the federal government is going to get that money from. There is no chance that the money is going to be obtained in that time frame and utilized for renewable energy. I don’t think that should be the plan.

“This energy transition has not been well thought through by Nigeria and Africa. We always seem to learn our policy making to what the West want us to do and that is a problem. It therefore means that if these are not your ideas, if these are not the things that will impact the growth and development of country, you are simply borrowing another person’s ideas to implement in your country that does not need those ideas.

“Nigeria has no business talking about renewable energy at this time. Nigeria has the business talking about affordable and reliable energy. The oil and gas industry are the only industry that Nigeria appears to be somewhat serious in terms of delivering an energy mix- affordable and reliable. For the government to take a look at these natural resources that we have and decide that they are going to divert their attention to the Western policy of spending $10bn and $200bn to deliver a renewable energy. Are we being driven by the policy of the West?”

He argued that the West that championed the transition policy have fallen back to coal plants particularly in Germany and Italy.

Nwosu said, “The only problem that Africa has is that we have a trilemma of issues. We have not started producing energy for us to consume, we have to do that. The climate impact of those people who are emitting is affecting us. We have to start asking for reparations and we use it to develop the whole of Africa.

“How can somebody be polluting the world and it is affecting us, and they are asking us to stop emitting. They should be paying us. The West and the developing world need to pay Africa to transit. I’m not talking about lending us money to transit, where we will borrow and start paying the IMF and things like that. We need to demand reparation for destroying our environment. So, they should pay for that.”

As funding for fossil fuel begins to dry up, the Waltersmith boss, said Africa needs to establish an ‘African Energy Bank that will mop-up funds from multinational firms.

According to him, investors may not want to channel their money to directly fund oil and gas projects in the continent, but will indirectly fund the projects through a continental energy bank.

He added, “Whenever the question about funding comes forth, it is only because people are still talking about funding from developed countries. The same way Africa has an Afrexim Bank, African Development Bank, the same way Africa must have an Africa Energy Bank.

“I will tell you, a lot of these international finding partners do not want to directly fund fossil fuel energy, but they can also provide some funding through another organisation to deliver that fund. Africa needs and African Energy Bank so that we can develop a just transition policy for Africa. It we depend on the West; it will be an unjust transition.

“Renewables can be part of the mix of government energy policy. But until we start utilizing the gas resources that we have (208TCF) for our own development; we have no business focusing investment on renewables. Africa wake up. Energy policy where we align with the West means that we are still colonized in our minds and we need to get away from that.”

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