Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said Nigeria must use its revenue from oil and gas to prepare for a future when the world would no longer runs on fossil fuels.
Osinbajo said that the country, a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, needed to develop renewable energy and help other businesses flourish to “adjust to the reality of the dwindling significance of fossil fuels.”
“It is no longer a question of if but when,” Osinbajo said, referring to global efforts to shift away from oil as a fuel.
“Oil-rich countries, such as ourselves, have an obligation to prepare for a destiny that may well be beyond oil,” he told the Oil Producing Trade Section conference in Lagos, according to Reuters.
The Federal Government has long talked of diversifying the economy away from reliance on oil, but earnings from output of crude still provide two-thirds of state revenue.
The vice-president called on oil and gas majors in Nigeria, many of them represented in the audience, to invest in renewable energy research and development to help the country prepare for a “clean energy economy” and the “post-oil world.”
Osinbajo said the country needed to reduce bureaucratic bottlenecks in contract awards and approvals.
Osinbajo said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was incurring higher cost to achieve stability in petroleum products’ supply and distribution in the country.
The vice-president stated that the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry was challenged by the menace of asset vandalism last year, with oil output plunging to an almost all-time low of one million barrels per day from a peak of over 2.3 million bpd recorded at the beginning of 2016.
He added that with the sustained engagements with the Niger Delta, oil production had ramped up to about 2.1 million bpd from an average of about 1.8 million bpd last year.
According to him, petroleum products supply and distribution to the nation is fairly stabilised since the May 2016 market liberalisation.
“However, with the prevailing change in macroeconomic conditions, this is being achieved at higher costs, especially to the NNPC as the supplier of the last resort. We continue to channel more energy towards resolving our downstream issues, once and for all,” Osinbajo said.