Nigeria Unveils New Global Climate Policy; Diezani Speaks At U.S Conference

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ABUJA, Sept 27, (THEWILL) - The attention of the Global energy mix was placed on Nigeria’s thriving oil and gas industry on Monday in Houston Texas at an International Conference on Energy and Climate Policy organized by the James Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University.

Delivering the keynote Address under the Conference Theme- Energy Market Consequences of an Emerging US Carbon Management Policy, Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke while citing examples from the country’s oil industry experience on environmental issues called on global operators of the oil and gas industry to re-strategize on sustainable policies for the sector.

"In Nigeria, our over 50 years experience in the oil and gas industry continues to reveal the complex dynamics of balancing global energy security, domestic economic growth, climate and environmental considerations. We have realized the importance of a holistic approach to policy formulation and we are making significant effort in this respect,’’ Mrs. Alison- Madueke enthused.

The Minister stated that recent events such as the unprecedented heat wave in Russia, flooding in Pakistan, oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the noticeable seasonal patterns in Nigeria, all point to a rapidly evolving climatic and environmental trend many of which cannot be divorced from global warming for which the operations or products of the oil and gas industry have been partly held responsible.

Throwing more light on Nigeria’s experience in battling environmental related issues and the Federal Government’s aspiration for the oil and gas industry Mrs. Alison-Madueke stated that the government has come up with a strategy designed to make Nigeria Carbon Neutral by 2025 at the latest.

"As a signatory to the Kyoto protocol. We have recently developed a Draft Policy to address climate change in Nigeria. Our Draft Policy focuses on the following: adaptation, mitigation, finance and technology,’’ She said.

The Minister stated that Nigeria is leveraging the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to access funds for major projects. So far the country has benefited from the Agip Okpai Combined Cycle power plant and the Pan Ocean gas plant with plans to list more projects to benefit from this scheme in the nearest future.

She also drew the attention of the world to the protracted issue of gas flaring and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta wrought by the activities of major International Oil Companies operating in Nigeria and moves by government to outlaw gas flaring.

Beyond the Climate change aspirations, the Minister stated that Nigeria aspires and is aggressively pursuing its agenda to be one of the world’s top 20 economies by 2020. This aspiration she stated calls for an aggressive growth in GDP over the next few years.

"The energy consumption that will be associated with such growth cannot be over-emphasized. To achieve and sustain the GDP growth aspiration, we are on course to; grow our crude oil reserves to and maintain it at about 40bn barrels through the period to 2020; reposition the natural gas sector to support a greener, flare free basis for aggressive economic growth; drive more effective linkage between the industry and the GDP through increased local content and participation; reform critical institutions in order to entrench transparency and accountability in the energy sector."

With crude oil reserves of 37 billion barrels and a production capacity of three million barrels per day, Nigeria is the world’s 12th largest supplier of crude oil. Similarly its proven gas reserve of 187 Trillion Cubic Feet, with about 600Trillion Cubic Feet additional in undiscovered gas potential makes Nigeria currently the world’s 7th largest in terms of proven gas reserves. Experts are of the opinion that with the estimated undiscovered potential, Nigeria could easily be within the world’s top three in gas reserves. This resource base underpins a thriving oil and gas activity in the country.

Located in Houston, Texas, the famed energy capital of the World, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy functions as a multifaceted programme designed to promote forward looking discussion and research on the energy- related challenges facing the globe.

Other speakers at the event include; James Mulva Chairman and CEO, ConocoPhillips, Edward Morse Managing Director, Head of Global Commodities Research, Credit Suisse, Albert Pratt, Professor of Business and Government and Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program, Harvard University and Felix Kramer Founder, California Cars Initiative among others.