Nigeria is Africa’s energy giant. It is the continent’s most prolific oil-producing country, which, along with Libya, accounts for two-thirds of Africa’s crude oil reserves. It ranks second to Algeria in natural gas (energysustainsoc.biomedcentral.com). Before I go on, I must warn you that these promising traits take a turn as you keep reading.
Nigerian Energy Resources: Bitumen and Lignite
Most of Africa’s bitumen and lignite reserves are found in Nigeria. In its mix of conventional energy reserves, Nigeria is simply unmatched by any other country on the African continent. It is not surprising therefore that energy export is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. Also, primary energy resources dominate the nation’s industrial raw material endowment.
Several energy resources are available in Nigeria in abundant proportions. The country possesses the world’s sixth largest reserve of crude oil. Nigeria has an estimated oil reserve of 36.2 billion barrels. It is increasingly an important gas province with proven reserves of nearly 5,000 billion m3 (energysustainsoc.biomedcentral.com).
This is where the surprise comes in as Nigeria continuously suffers from an inadequate supply of usable energy due to the rapidly increasing demand, which is typical of a developing economy. Nigeria’s energy need is on the increase, and its increasing population is not adequately considered in the energy development program. The present urban-centered energy policy is unevenly distributed, as cases of rural and sub-rural energy demand and supply do not reach the center stage of the country’s energy development policy.
People in rural areas depend on burning wood and traditional biomass for their energy needs, causing great deforestation, emitting greenhouse gases, and polluting the environment, thus creating global warming and environmental concerns. The main task has been to supply energy to the cities and various places of industrialization, thereby creating an energy imbalance within the country’s socioeconomic and political landscapes.
Nigeria’s Energy Capacity
Nigeria’s grid has an installed capacity of roughly 12,522 megawatts, but due to poor infrastructure, it is only able to deliver around 4,000 megawatts most days, according to the US Agency for International Development.
Nigeria’s national electricity grid has collapsed more than 200 times in the last nine years, regularly resulting in widespread blackouts. There are also health risks from the emissions of inefficient petrol generators, which are widely used in Nigeria. It is estimated that electricity generator sets consume $22 billion worth of fuel yearly.
The grid collapsed twice in March 2022 within 48 hours. There are a number of factors to explain this situation and thus inform what needs to be done about it. They include insufficiently trained personnel, deficiency in local manufacturing, poor utility performance, theft of grid equipment, weather, gas supply, insufficient funding and the age of grid infrastructure (Theconversation.com).
Hungry for energy, millions of Nigerians put up with noisy, smoky petrol-fueled generators to power their lives. In some situations, the amount of electricity supplied to the grid is lower than the electricity demand. When this occurs, an automatic load shedding plan is activated. But if this fails, the generators switch off one after another until there is a complete collapse of the national grid.
In Nigeria, the system mismatch occurs frequently because demand is regularly beyond available power allocated to distribution companies at certain periods.
The buoyancy of Nigeria’s energy outreach has really taken a turn as you can see from the above information. It is ironic that the most prolific oil producing country suffers from such terrible power struggles. In order to ensure the sustainability of energy supply and subsequently the sustainable economic development of the country, the government has to intensify the further implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. As observed in quite a number of successful countries promoting renewable energy, such as Germany, Denmark, and Japan, a strong and long-term commitment from the government is crucial in implementing any kind of policies which will lead to the development of renewable energies, in particular, and a sustainable development, in general (energysustainsoc.biomedcentral.com).
It’s a movement that has already begun. Hopefully, the Nigerian energy landscape can make an auspicious return that lives up to her great name.
Note: This article was written for SUNTEX by guest writer and Energy Consultant, Teminijesu Ojo. Please reach out directly to SUNTEX if you have any questions regarding this article, or the blog post content. You can find more information from Teminijesu on her Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087631274569.