Dr Ogbonnaya Onu

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has expressed optimism that Nigeria’s membership of the International Energy Charter (IEC), would facilitate Foreign Direct Investment in the energy sector.

The Minister stated this on Tuesday in Abuja when he declared open a two-day National Energy Summit organised by Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) in collaboration with the IEC, Brussels.

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu said the IEC and ECN had conducted studies on Energy Investment Risk Assessment (EIRA) of the Nigerian energy sector, which would be presented by the IEC secretariat during the summit.

According to him, the summit seeks to highlight how Nigeria’s membership of the International Energy Charter will deepen growth and development in Nigeria’s energy sector for sustainable national development.

He noted that the energy sector was undergoing many transformations and that reforms within the sector were ongoing.

“Nigeria is preparing for a post crude oil era, national gas utilisation is receiving a lot of attention.

“Our methanol utilisation policy is aim at increasing the use of natural gas in the production of both fuel and electricity generation.

“This will help stop gas flaring in the country, protect and preserve our environment as well as diversify the energy sector of our economy and we are also investing in both research and renewable energy,’’ the minister added.

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu called for both foreign and local investment to help build the necessary infrastructure for efficient exploitation of the huge energy resources available in the country.

He also said that government had provided incentives to encourage this investment, adding that the return on investment was very favourable.

In an address, Director-General, Energy Commission of Nigeria Prof. Eli Bala, explained that the objectives of the summit was to bring to limelight how membership of the IEC would facilitate energy sufficiency.

He said that energy sufficiency and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria could only be driven on an active participation of the private sector as articulated in the National Energy Policy.

“Thus, the Energy Investment Risk Assessment(EIRA) reports, which highlights the investment risks in the Nigeria energy sector also reveals the flip-side that will minimise or eliminate the risks,’’ he said.

He further said that in order to transit from an observer State of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) into a full signatory three country study reports were imperative.

He stated these to include, report on investment climate and exceptions to national treatment, energy efficiency accession report and report on the harmonisation of country laws and regulation with ECT.

In a keynote speech delivered virtually, Secretary General of Energy Charter Secretariat, Brussels, Dr Urban Rusnak, said energy transition should fit everyone and the need to save energy for the benefit of all.

“We have  to work together to mobilise  the multi-stakeholder corporation for action in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Highpoint of the opening ceremony featured goodwill messages from the Ministers of Environment, Petroleum, Industry, Trade and Investment among others.