Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has decried the rapid drop in foreign investment flow to Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
He equally decried the speed at which Europe has been pushing back against investment in fossil fuel, stressing that the Russia and Ukraine war has thought the world a big lesson, especially in the energy sector.
“One of the biggest problems we have in the sector has been investments. In the last 10 years, over $70 billion worth of investments came to Africa. But sadly less than $4 billion came to Nigeria, which is surprisingly the biggest country in Africa. If we cannot attract investments to Nigeria, you know where we are heading,” Sylva told a delegation of the European Union (EU), who paid a visit to his office in Abuja.
Speaking during the courtesy call by EU ambassadors led by Samuela Isopi, Sylva said Nigeria was ready to step in as an alternative gas supplier to Europe but urged the EU to encourage its oil and gas companies such as Shell, Eni, Total Energies among others to scale up investments in the country.
“One of the things we warned against earlier was the speed at which the EU was taking away investments in fossil fuels. We warned that the speed was faster than they were developing renewable energy. You can see now that what we were warning against is what is happening now,” he said.
The minister told the delegation that the absence of fresh investment was stunting the growth of oil and gas in Nigeria and called for a change of attitude if the requests by the EU to increase supplies to Europe are to be realised.
“You have been our longtime friend. As of today, our gas reserve is one of the biggest in the world. We have a proven gas reserve of 206 tcf, and if we focus on gas exploitation we can get up to 600 tcf. Nigeria is, arguably, the best territory to invest in. We are already building gas infrastructures such as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project, which is expected to take gas to Algeria, and the West Africa Gas Pipeline project designed to take gas to Morocco.”
“As you can see we are already building infrastructure that will take gas to Europe. All we need is investments. We acknowledge that there are challenges in the sector but we should partner to help solve the problems,” Sylva pleaded.
He noted that Europe needs a buffer or an alternative source of gas and that Nigeria could work with the continent to create the buffer.