Nigerian Minister Gives Reasons Country Can’t Meet OPEC Quota

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, attributed Nigeria’s inability to meet the quota requirements of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to a lack of investment in the oil and gas sector.

The OPEC quota for Nigeria is 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), but the country has struggled between 1.3 and 1.4 million bpd in recent years.

Sylva, according to his Senior Adviser for Media and Communications, Horatius Egua, addressed a ministerial plenary at the ongoing Ceraweek in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday.

The speed with which international oil firms and other investors were withdrawing investments in hydrocarbon exploitation contributed significantly to Nigeria’s failure to meet its OPEC targets.

Sylva said investments were being withdrawn too quickly.

“Lack of investment in the oil and gas sector contributed to Nigeria’s inability to meet OPEC quota. We are not able to get the needed investments to develop the sector and that affected us,” he added.

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In addition, he listed security challenges as another factor that has prevented the sector from growing rapidly.

He added that climate enthusiasts’ drive for renewable energy had discouraged investment in the sector.

Sylva, however, urged a change in attitude, pointing out that hydrocarbons would remain a vital part of meeting global energy needs for decades to come.

Despite being in full support of the energy transition, the minister said Nigeria, and the African continent generally, should be allowed to develop at its own pace.

According to him, this will enable the continent to meet the energy needs of more than 600 million people without access to electricity.

“There are about 600 million people in Africa without access to power, and of that number, the majority live in Nigeria.

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“And of the over 900 million people without access to power in the world, the majority live in Africa. So how do we provide access to power for these people if you say we should not produce gas?

“We believe that gas is the way to go. We believe that gas is the way forward and the one access to power. For the energy transition programme to be taken seriously we need to have an inclusive energy transition programme.

“We believe in energy transition but we as Africans have our own peculiar problems and we are saying that our energy transition should be focused on gas to bridge the energy gap.

“This is what we have been saying. We need a just and equitable energy transition programme,” Sylva stated.

He insisted that Nigeria was not anti-transition programs in any way, but urged the promotion of renewable energy as the only strategy to achieve energy sufficiency before doing away with fossil fuels.

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“As Africans, we are saying that we must be allowed to transit through gas. We cannot achieve one energy baseload through renewable alone.

“The rest of the world must listen to us. We are happy that our point of view is being taken,” he said.

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