THE Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday, said Biofuels would soon become the nation’s foreign exchange earner, if “we can apply both our mind and might into it”.
He also allayed the fears of Nigerians on the current economic recession occasioned by the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market.
Kachikwu made this known at the sensitization workshop on Biofuels Development in Nigeria with the theme: Biofuels: Nigeria’s New Economy, organized by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), held at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) auditorium in Abuja
Dr. Kachikwu explained that, going by the dwindling price of oil, coupled with the activities of vandals in the Niger Delta, it was imperative to explore alternative energy and revenue sources.
According to him, “I believe biofuel will soon become our foreign exchange earner, if we can apply both our mind and might into it. We can produce crude and fire gas but, ultimately, the only way to sustainably reach every nook and cranny and every citizen of our country with some level of energy supply, is to look towards natural resources such as solar, wind, water resources and biofuel”.
The minister, whose message was delivered by one of the directors from the ministry, Mr. Tim Okon, said the Federal Government was pushing for diversification of its oil energy mix to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, as well as imported petroleum products and up its foreign exchange.
It will be recalled that Nigeria has over the years depended on fossil fuel as her source of energy and revenue, leaving out other sources.
He stressed that the renewable energy development initiative was designed to leverage on the nation’s immense agricultural potentials, with a view to creating a synergy with petroleum sector, by developing a biomass-based fuel economy for the country.
“Research has confirmed the reliability and acceptability of biofuels as a more environmentally-friendly option when compared with premium motor spirit (PMS).
“Biofuel is bound to make the country develop a low carbon economy and gradually reduce environmental pollution associated with fossil fuels so as to achieve our country’s commitment to global agreements under the Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC) projects, while at the same time create commercially viable and sustainable agro-industrial cluster across the country. It will equally provide the enabling environment for biomass co-generation of electric power and Great Green Wall (GGW) programmes may be practiced for the good of all Nigerians”, he added.
Speaking on the topic, Biofuels: Nigeria’s New Reality, an energy expert Mohammed Ibrahim, said: “renewable energy development in general and biofuel promotion in particular has the tendency to alter our national economy in a fundamental and sustainable manner.
“Biofuel production could be a catalyst for the commercialization and industrialization of Nigeria’s current subsistence agricultural and agro allied industry. This will provide an opportunity for Nigeria to enter the growing global biofuel export market and improve her balance of trade with other nations.
Earlier in his welcome address, the acting Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr. Victor Shidok said Nigeria could not afford to be left behind in ensuring the development of commercialization of biofuels as an alternative energy source at the time of gradual depletion of hydro-carbon base.
Mr. Shidok was of the opinion that, with the dissatisfaction of stakeholders with the existing gazette on biofuel policy which was import dependent and import driven which was rejected, a policy review which was now on-going and coordinated by the PPPRA was birthed.