The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said that the Petroleum Industry Bill does not have transitional provisions to cleaner energy because Nigeria does not have enough resources to join the race to renewable energy any time soon.
The minister said this on Thursday during the briefing on the PIB which is expected to be passed by the National Assembly in April this year.
The PIB has been criticised for not adequately addressing the issue of transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy adequately.
By 2040, it expects renewables to power 33 percent of global energy demand, as opposed to the current 21 percent.
In Europe, most car manufacturers have given a deadline of 2025 to stop manufacturing of cars that run on fuel.
Sylva said, “What this bill is called is the Petroleum Industry Bill, so we are looking at petroleum laws. We are not really in the race to renewables as a country and even as a continent, we are not really very much in the race to renewable. Lets look at where we have our comparative advantage.
“Our comparative advantage today as far as energy is concerned is the area of oil and gas. We have a lot of gas in this territory unfortunately we have not focused on gas and gas is considered to be a cleaner fuel.
“In fact some people have begin to discuss gas not as a transition fuel, but as a destination fuels. So it is also considered as a renewable fuel. What we doing in the PIB is to move the focus from oil to gas.”
He said there is provision in the legislation that provides for transition to gas.
Sylva said under the PIB, the midstream will have a dedicated regulator to drive the vision.
He said, “That is why I always advocate internationally. They cannot pigeonhole us and say we should go into buying fuels. That is not our area of strength. We will concentrate as a country in our area of strength which is gas.
“Even if they consider gas as a transition fuel, then we are going to be very strong in that.”
On his part, the Executive Secretary PTDF, Bello Aliyu Gusau, said the country cannot afford such immediate transition to renewables.
Gasau said that the bill is envisaged to form a background for the country’s transition to renewables.
He said, “The whole bill is predicated on the understanding that we are coming to the end of fossil fuel. Our estimation is that we are going to have a window of let say at most 20 years to continue to use fossil fuel, because the whole world is transiting to a cleaner and more carbon neutral situation.
“But we cannot throw away the oil. We have to make optimal utilisation of that resource within the time that is available to us. So the drafting and the design of the bill is predicated on the fact that what can we do within this window to be able to optimally utilise the resources to provide the means of transition.
“Second to create linkages with the rest of the economy. If you look at the bill itself, there is a lot of emphasis on on two things- the mid, downstream and gas.”
According to the PTDF boss, the midstream is where the linkages with the rest of the economy is created.
He added, “The whole idea is the midstream will provide us fertilizer, power and gas based industries and this is what will lead to the necessary growth of the economy to be able to move seamlessly to the new era of low carbon utilisation.
“But beyond that, gas is the bridge between the current fossil fuel based present and to the future which is cleaner and for a long time, we have not paid a lot of attention to the gas resources. Moving from an oil dominated economy to a gas based economy.”