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Why Nigeria conducted marginal oil fields bid round despite push for energy transition – Buhari

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By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday explained that Nigeria conducted the marginal oil field bid round last year despite the global push to transit into cleaner energy because it has to quickly harness its crude oil resources before it losses its value.
President Buhari who gave the explanation at the opening of the 2022 Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES) in Abuja.
He noted that while Nigeria was not against energy transition, the country also has the responsibility to utilise its natural resources to grow its economy and develop its infrastructure.
He said the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 has positioned the country to make maximum use of its hydrocarbon resources.
According to him, “Both the marginal fields bid round and the Petroleum Industry Act surmounted over two-decade challenges in the doldrums before they saw the light of the day. For the Decade of Gas initiative, it holds a promise of a prosperous Nigeria for Nigerians. 
“You might ask; why would the successful conclusion of the Marginal Fields Bid Round be such a big deal when the world is moving away from fossil fuels? The answer is simple; awarding the marginal fields gives Nigeria the opportunity to speed up its fossil fuel exploitation and make good use of the resources for the betterment of the country rather than abandon the huge oil and gas reserves in the ground”.
He added: “We are fully aware that energy transition raises the bar in terms of environmental, social and governance demands. We do not have to panic. We are already building blocks and bricks that will ensure seamless energy transition as the country joins in the race for net zero carbon emission.  
“That is why this administration declared Natural Gas as the transition fuel for Nigeria. Without doubt, Natural Gas ticks all the boxes. We are prepared to face the challenge of the rising global demand for cleaner energy sources”.  
The President expressed optimism that the rising price of crude oil in the international market would enable the country increase its revenue from the sector.  
Also speaking, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva said energy transition push must consider the development needs of developing country especially those with huge hydrocarbon resources.
“In adopting global future fuels, energy-poverty and climate change nexus have to be both addressed simultaneously. It must be geared towards clean and sustainable sources.
“For countries such as Nigeria, that is rich in natural resources but still energy poor, the transition must not come at the expense of affordable and reliable energy for people, cities, and industry. On the contrary, it must be inclusive, equitable, and just—which means preserving the right to sustainable development and poverty eradication as enshrined in global treaties such as the Paris accord. It is evident that what makes the most sense from the point of view of “balancing energy security with environmental sustainability is the use of gas as a transition fuel.”
Chief Sylva pointed out that at “the heart of this administration is the vision to drive infrastructure and industrial development of the country in order to prosper her citizens and make life more meaningful to all. Natural gas ticks all the boxes as the vehicle to help government achieve the aspiration and that is why we embraced the resource to help turn around the economy by declaring year 2021-2030 as Nigeria’s decade of gas”. 
But in her presentation, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard expressed the opposition of the US government to fresh investment in the development of hydrocarbon.
She insisted that the impact of climate change is visible for everyone to see around the world, noting that the US would continue to support poor country to transit seamlessly into cleaner energy.

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