President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said there was a need for African nations to pool resources to put up trans-border and trans-regional energy infrastructure so as to fully leverage the potential of natural gas in the continent.
President Buhari also said that Africa can achieve a balance between its energy deficit and environmental preservation needs by developing and deploying new technologies.
Addressing the 5th Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Summit at the Sipopo International Conference Hall, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the President noted that gas has the added advantage of availability and affordability.
He said that the viability of extending the gas pipeline to North Africa was also under consideration.
According to him, ”Although classified as fossil fuel, natural gas is a viable solution to both our energy and environmental challenges.
”We in Nigeria have led the way by the construction of the West Africa Gas Pipeline which runs through four West African countries.”
President Buhari commended the foresight of the founding fathers of the GECF “in promoting natural gas in the global energy mix.”
He said that the Federal Government would soon commence the construction of the 600-kilometre Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline which would move gas from the Southern part of the country to the North.
Describing the theme of the Summit, “Natural Gas – Energy for Sustainable Development” as most appropriate, President Buhari noted that the one-day meeting was “taking place at a critical juncture as global energy supply is transitioning from hydrocarbons to renewables.”
He said, “The Paris Accord of 2015 signalled the first major global commitment to a deliberate effort on this inevitable transition.“
He further stressed that “Nigeria is proud to be one of the first signatories” to the historic Agreement.
Explaining why Nigeria and GECF members are focusing on gas development, the Nigerian leader said:
“We are mindful of the energy deficit in the developing world especially, here in Africa where we have nearly 600 million people without access to modern energy. As responsible leaders, it is our duty to preserve the environment not only for the present but for future generations.”
Declaring the Summit open, the host, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, called on members of the GECF to continue to work in harmony towards the realisation of the objectives of the multinational organisation.