LAGOS – Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), has called on oil-producing countries in Africa to scale up their oil exploration and production activities to stem the tide of the rising oil prices globally and ensure energy security.
He spoke on Monday at the ongoing 44th Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE) in Lagos organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Council, where he noted that increased exploration and production and protection of oil and gas investments have become imperative to guarantee strong energy mix and security. He underscored this with the renewed search for oil and gas in the North Sea in the United Kingdom.
The recent increase in the price of energy mostly occasioned by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the ensuing energy disruption, he said, has reawakened the call for geopolitical energy security and sustainability.
He noted that in the United Kingdom, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) – formerly the Oil and Gas Authority – is envisaging leasing and licensing rounds for oil and gas exploitation and future projects.
He added: “Given this outlook, it is evident that in meeting the growing energy demand in the short and medium term, the upstream oil and gas industry in Africa would need to carry out further exploration and development drilling to optimize reservoir extraction, drill into new targets, and employ technological advances to optimize production yields for appropriate energy mix.
“We at the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission have steered our focus towards working with all stakeholders to ensure business investments in the oil and gas sector are adequately protected. We are striving to ensure that all bottlenecks associated with regulatory processes are eliminated or minimized, to ensure seamless operations as we gradually roll out the key policy initiatives necessitated by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021. We are positioning gas as our transition fuel while adopting a phase-down approach in our energy transition quest geared towards paying greater attention to the development of untapped gas resources. This energy source with a low carbon footprint would serve as the transition fuel in meeting our energy security as a nation.
The theme of this year’s NAICE, “Global Transition to Renewable and Sustainable Energy and the Future of Upstream Oil and Gas in Africa,”, he said, is apt, considering the current trends and realities in the global oil industry.