"We firmly believe that indigenous companies like ours play a crucial role in securing Africa's energy future and spearheading the shift toward more sustainable energy sources."

Ainojie Alexander Irune

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OANDO PLC AND COO, OANDO ENERGY RESOURCES (OER)

June 21, 2024

Can you update us on the recent developments at Oando Energy Resources (OER)?

Over the past few years, we have focused on enhancing production from our core assets while boosting production from our marginal assets. Concurrently, we have committed to transitioning towards cleaner energy sources. This strategic shift led to the establishment of Oando Clean Energy Limited (OCEL), our clean energy division, dedicated solely to developing bankable, climate friendly energy solutions. OCEL’s projects are across six themes, including sustainable transport, waste-to-value, geothermal, biofuels, solar and wind. These initiatives show our commitment to facilitating the energy transition and significantly reducing emissions in Africa.

One noteworthy project within our clean energy portfolio is the conversion of public buses in Lagos from internal combustion engines to electric motors, in collaboration with the Lagos State government. This endeavour involved a proof of concept, in collaboration with the Lagos State government, where we successfully demonstrated commercial viability and addressed crucial customer concerns about technology reliability and energy efficiency. Building on this success, we are now deploying an additional 50 electric buses, targeting road transport emissions, the largest source of GHG emissions in the country.

As we expand our interests in joint ventures and increase our acreages, our commitment to lowering carbon emissions remains unwavering, underscoring our dedication to a sustainable future.

How would you characterize the health of Nigeria's upstream sector?

We are navigating an evolving regulatory environment that is being shaped by the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). Refining these regulations has required extensive collaboration with industry stakeholders through workshops and consultations to ensure they effectively address industry demands and foster value creation for all involved.

Additionally, the energy sector is undergoing restructuring with the unbundling of operations into distinct upstream, midstream and downstream segments. This restructuring presents both challenges and opportunities for indigenous players like OER.

Finally, the transition from IOCs to indigenous players marks an inflection point for the industry. Local entities, including OER, have proven their competence and expertise, establishing themselves as strong competitors for onshore assets previously held by IOCs. This shift marks a pivotal moment of empowerment and expansion for indigenous companies, opening up new opportunities throughout the value chain.

What are your thoughts on Nigeria's ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative? 

I certainly believe that Nigeria's concerted effort to position itself as a significant global contributor to gas production and the energy transition is commendable. Key to this effort to commercialize our gas resources is clear and equitable pricing strategies for both domestic use and exports, including LNG. Aligning local consumption with gas-to-power tariffs is essential to creating a balanced and fair value chain. Recent initiatives such as adjustments to domestic electricity rates, revisions to gas pricing and executive orders incentivizing investments in the gas sector and streamlining procurement processes reflect positive strides in this area.

In the broader context of the energy transition, while oil development has its place, it is essential to accelerate the shift towards using gas as a sustainable energy source. I view gas not merely as a transitional fuel but as a fundamental part of Nigeria’s future energy mix. In addition, by maximizing revenues from gas investments, we can finance further development and adoption of cleaner technologies like solar and wind power. 

Could you outline OER’s priorities for the coming years? 

In the near term, our main priority is to finalize the acquisition of NAOC (Nigeria Agip Oil Company) from Eni. This acquisition is significant as it nearly doubles our current production capacity, representing a monumental step forward for us. We are committed to ensuring that this transition not only boosts our capabilities as an oil company but also propels our aspirations in the gas sector. Our focus on cleaner energy is unwavering, and we are dedicated to shaping the future of energy in Africa by championing policies and initiatives that promote sustainability.

We recognize the importance of establishing a robust national energy framework and are actively engaged in discussions to ensure the implementation of suitable policies and ecosystems to support the energy sector's expansion. We firmly believe that indigenous companies like ours play a crucial role in securing Africa's energy future and spearheading the shift toward more sustainable energy sources.

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