By Obas Esiedesa
ABUJA-With the United Nations reporting that 733 million across the globe do not have access to electricity, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, has insisted that every nation must be allowed to determine its energy transition pathway.
OPEC Secretary General, Mr. Haitham Al-Ghais in a goodwill message delivered virtually at the 2023 Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja yesterday, said while the Western countries were pushing for a transition to cleaner energy, the perspective of developing countries must be heard.
Al-Ghais explained that OPEC wanted all voices heard in the discussions on energy transition, saying: “At OPEC, we recognize that the scope of the climate challenge requires comprehensive solutions. There is no panacea that can solve it alone. The oil and gas industry can foster its resources and expertise and help unlock our emissions-free future, through its role as a powerful innovator in developing cleaner and more efficient technological solutions. A diverse range of mitigation measures is necessary.
“The capacities and national circumstances of developing countries must be taken into account in all actions. We should never forget that climate change and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin.
“Therefore, policy-makers need to be cognizant that even the best-intentioned policies, can have unintended consequences. This increases the stakes in the ‘policy-design’ phase.
“If ‘policy design’ is not robust and well thought-out, the unintended consequences can have lasting and damaging effects, including potential energy shortfalls and market volatility, as we have seen in recent years, which harm both producers and consumers. One of the biggest unintended policy risks relates to investments.
“The global oil sector alone will need a cumulative investment of $12.1 trillion through to 2045. However, in recent years, we have heard calls from some to limit or stop funding for new oil and gas projects.
“This is disheartening and particularly impactful on developing countries with oil and gas resources. This great continent, Africa, has 120 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 18 trillion standard cubic metres of natural gas.
“For countries to properly utilize these resources for the benefit of their people, investment levels must be adequate, whilst being mindful of and taking actions to reduce the carbon footprint of the oil industry.”