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Stakeholders warn of deforestation impact, carbon footprint

By Kingsley Jeremiah, Abuja
18 May 2022   |   4:08 am
Stakeholders, yesterday, in Abuja, raised concerns about the growing level of deforestation triggered by activities in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

Chairman, Seplat Energy, Chief Ambrose Ojiakor (left); Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Chairman, Board of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Senator Margery Okadigbo at Seplat’s Tree4Life launch, at Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, yesterday.

•As energy firm moves to plant five million threes
Stakeholders, yesterday, in Abuja, raised concerns about the growing level of deforestation triggered by activities in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

This is coming as Seplat Energy said over five million trees would be planted in some oil producing and Northern states.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Board Chairman of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Senator Margery Chuba Okadigbo and Chairman of Seplat, ABC Orjiako were among stakeholders who insisted that unless concerted efforts are made, achieving the 2030 target to end deforestation may remain elusive.

Speaking as Seplat unveiled the tree planting initiative, Sylva said the Federal Government is creating corridors and pathways for oil and gas operators in the industry to achieve net zero.

According to him, the Petroleum Industry Act remained an enabler for gas business, adding that the Act will enable a lot of gas projects.

Sylva said there was a need for operators to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the PIA to actually deepen the gas business in Nigeria.

“We are actually creating a roadmap to achieve these objectives. We are also creating corridors to deepen gas business. The AKK pipeline is a corridor that we are reaching across Nigeria from the southern part to the north. We are also creating another corridor from the West African gas pipeline all the way to Morocco.

“These are all opportunities that the government is putting in place that should be taken into account by operators,” he said.

Okadigbo said fossil fuel contribution to climate change remained worrisome, adding that it is critical for the oil and gas industry to address climate change and sustainability.

“In Nigeria we have a unique situation. We have 200 million people, which is the seventh largest population in the world and we have oil and reserves of over 37 billion barrels of oil and 208 trillion cubic feet of gas, we must therefore deploy our resources to actualize the development of Nigeria while addressing climate change challenges,“ she said.

According to her, the Seplat Energy Tree for Life initiative exemplifies the ways the oil and gas sector can respond to climate emergencies.

Okadigbo said tree planting is a way to help reduce impact of carbon emission and restore natural eco-systems, stating that policies influencing climate activism now create concerns for the way and manner businesses are done in the energy sector.

Orjiako, who is worried about the level of energy poverty in the country, noted that sustainable energy activities would help the country meet climate change targets while addressing deforestation.

“There is deforestation that is happening in the provision of energy in our environment, the more you do that, you’re emitting more carbon dioxide to the society. So we’re encouraging reforestation, everywhere you are you must plant trees,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer of Seplat, Roger Brown, disclosed that while Nigeria has signed up to end deforestation by 2030 and achieve Net-Zero by 2060, there was need to eradicate energy poverty in the country

“We must make sure the economy grows, we must create jobs and the only way to effectively do that is to create energy and affordable energy,” he stated.

According to him, the company will in five years plant five million trees focusing on five states of Edo , Delta, Imo and two northern states.