A.B.C. Orjiako

In recognition that one of the biggest challenges in energy transition is the continuous discordant tunes across the world, Dr. ABC Orjiako, Chairman, Seplat Energy Plc, has said that the best in the project can only be achieved in a collaborative manner leveraging technology and innovation.

He spoke at the just concluded 2021 Milken Institute Global Conference themed, “Charting a New Course”. 

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The Conference is an annual convening of global leaders in government, finance, health, academia, industry and philanthropy.

His words: “We must develop a coordinated and coherent approach to energy transition with the specific needs of several geographies in consideration”.

Orjiako’s panel provided insights on how few markets have seen more fundamental changes than energy and commodities. The panel also looked at what energy and commodity firms and investors can do to stay ahead of the game; and how they are supporting policy or developing effective programmes; as well as what incentives can help accelerate decarbonization and a more sustainable approach in the face of a growing climate crisis.

While responding to Seplat Energy’s timeline for energy transition and how he sees this happening, Orjiako said: “I think one of the biggest challenges in energy transition is the continuous discordant tunes that are being sung across the world. The recent bull market experienced in the commodities market particularly with oil and gas is due in part to the uncoordinated planning of the pace of Energy Transition. The real message is that net zero emissions does not equate to zero fossil fuels.”

He further told the teaming audience that massive withdrawal of funding for fossil fuel projects has led to a market imbalance where with every slight rise in demand comes a sharp increase in commodity prices “as seen in the recent uptick in the price of coal.”

He added that energy transition must be done in a collaborative manner where there must be a balance between net-zero /carbon neutrality and energy poverty in Africa and much of the developing world.

On whether it is possible for oil price to go towards $100 per barrel (/bbl) given the recent demand surge and the example scenario where coal plants cannot sustain demand in China for instance, he said: “It is a possibility that oil price will go beyond $100/bbl in the near term. The bull market is not isolated and oil prices will experience volatility in the long term.’’

According to him, the current energy transition is also driven by politics, climate activism and policies whereas in my view the energy transition should be driven by technology and innovation in a coordinated manner by all players.

A more pragmatic approach, in Orjiako’s opinion, will be to invest in the technologies that will drive net zero aspirations as well as engage policies and incentives to encourage carbon capture and sequestration.

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