Presently, Nigeria significantly relies on oil and gas, which serves as a very vital part of its economy. However, due to the ongoing discussions on emissions, the nation is actively considering a shift towards a gas-driven economy.
The previous administration introduced the Decade of Gas Initiative and the Nigeria Gas Expansion Program (NGEP) as pivotal steps toward this transition. It is crucial to note that both initiatives are not yet operating at full capacity.
Also, several months back, the Tinubu administration endorsed Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative to petrol following the subsidy removal. This endorsement resulted from an agreement inked between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and Nipco Gas Limited, slated to become operational in 2024, according to Opera news.
Considering the agreements reached at COP28, it will take Nigeria about 27 years to fully restructure its economy from its current dependence on oil and gas.
Nigeria and other oil dependent nations may have agreed to the agreement. But their need for assistance from developed countries is undeniable.
As President Tinubu said in his COP28 speech, “Nigeria seeks to shift from oil and commits to reducing emissions by moving to cleaner energy sources, but this is only possible if developed nations finally honor their commitment to providing the needed finance and technology to help promote development.”
The country is bound to face alot of challenges in achieving the goal of transition. Some of the challenges as opined by energy law expert, George Amos includes: The country’s total reliance on non-renewable energy sources, especially for critical sectors like power generation. This reliance poses a significant challenge for transitioning to renewables, particularly considering Nigeria’s predominantly unindustrialized state.
Also, Nigeria faces risks to its human capital, anticipating job losses necessitating workforce retraining for a shift to the renewable energy sector. Regions like the oil-producing areas in the Niger Delta might undergo social disruptions, grappling with challenges such as economic uncertainty, he added.
He however, presented an alternative perspective, reasoning that the mandated shift to renewable energy holds promise. Transitioning to cleaner energy sources could enhance public healthcare by curbing air and water pollution associated with fossil fuel extraction and usage.