During the Legal Business Conference, a panel of experts discussed the importance of energy diversification to sustain and enhance economic growth.
The panelists who spoke extensively at the first plenary session on the topic “The role of energy in economic growth: Transitioning to the next level” emphasized the need for a well-rounded approach to energy sources to mitigate risks associated with relying heavily on a single energy source. This diversification strategy can yield several advantages for both the economy and the environment.
Prof. Olalekan Olafuyi, Professor of Petroleum Engineering of the University of Benin and the immediate Past Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers Nigeria Council said that there is need for energy diversification to improve the economic growth of the Nation and to transition into the next level.
Prof Olalekan also called for the reduced dependency on Fossil Fuels because this would help in diversifying the energy mix and help reduce reliance on traditional fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. These resources are finite and subject to price fluctuations in the global market. By diversifying, countries can reduce exposure to volatile energy prices, ensuring a more stable economy.
Another Panelist at the Conference, Effiong Okon, Director New Energy, Seplat Energy Plc said that there should be energy security which connotes that relying on a single energy source or a small number of suppliers can create vulnerabilities in a nation’s energy security. Political disputes, trade disruptions, or natural disasters in a major energy-producing region can have severe consequences on energy availability and affordability. Energy diversification allows countries to be less dependent on specific regions or suppliers, enhancing energy security.
They noted that Energy diversification often includes incorporating renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass. Transitioning to cleaner and more sustainable energy options helps combat climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and meet environmental goals.
The speakers stressed the need for job creation and economic opportunities which pave the way in embracing energy diversification, stimulate innovation and create new economic opportunities. The renewable energy sector has the potential to generate numerous jobs and foster local economic development.
Olayemi Anyanechi, Commission Secretary and Legal Adviser, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (who was ably represented by Funmi Adesanya, Head, Commercial Legal Services of the Commission) said that there is need to boost Investor Confidence. She noted that Energy diversification can enhance investor confidence in a country’s economy. A diversified and stable energy sector can attract both domestic and foreign investments, promoting economic growth and development.
Peter Esele, Past President Trade Union Council, stressed the need for a new policy by the government to improve energy efficiency in economic growth thereby transitioning the nation to the next level.
Overall, the panelists emphasized that embracing energy diversification is a strategic approach to ensuring sustainable economic growth, enhancing energy security, and addressing environmental challenges in the face of an ever-changing global energy landscape.
The 2023 Legal Business Conference held on Thursday, 27 July at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos with the theme “Powering Tomorrow’s Economy Today”.