The National Security Advisor, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd.) has returned to Nigeria after a visit to the United States for talks which aimed at revitalizing the strategic relationship between Nigeria and the US, even as Nigeria prepares to enter a season of intense pre-election activity.
The Tide learnt that Gen. Gusau held talks with key State Department, intelligence, and National Security Council officials, in Washington, DC, between May 18 and 21, 2010, which focused on Nigeria’s growing centrality to US — and European — energy security.
The visit also highlighted the centrality of Gen. Mohammed Gusau to the international community’s concerns about ensuring the stability of Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea energy producing zone.
The US now gets some 21 per cent of its hydrocarbon imports from the Gulf of Guinea, and Nigeria, as the biggest supplier and biggest state in the region, is now strategically “more important than Saudi Arabia” to the US, according to several US officials.
Many US and European leaders cite the re-appointment of Gen. Gusau, and, lately, as national security advisor began the turning point in rebuilding trust and stability in Nigeria.
One US official told The Tide source that: “The US, just a few years ago, would have been happy to have a weak, compliant leader in charge in Nigeria.
“Today, that is absolutely no longer sufficient; in fact, it is even dangerous. We learned that in Kyrgyzstan, when we encouraged the removal of a strong, pro-American leader [Pres. Askar Akaev] to put a weak leader in place, someone we thought we could control or dominate. That did not work out.
“What is critical for us is for Nigeria — perhaps our most important resource supply ally — to be led by someone who can absolutely deliver a stable society which is prosperous and productive. The US, in its present condition, can no longer afford to have weak allies. And Gen. Gusau is both an ally of the West and a decisive, patriotic leader.”
There was considerable speculation that the visit enabled a number of key US officials to raise the question as to whether Gen. Gusau would seek to contest the Nigerian Presidency in the 2011 elections, given the knowledge that he declined to accept President Goodluck Jonathan’s invitation for him to become his vice president, in an administration that is serving out the remainder of the term of office of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who died on May 5, 2010.
Gen. Gusau has been noncommittal in his responses to these questions and has been unwilling to confirm whether he would contest or not.
One US Administration source said: “The situation in Nigeria only began to stabilize when Gen. Gusau was recalled as national security advisor by Jonathan. All of the team which has been put in place to address security, corruption, and good governance issues is really there because of him.”
NNPCL Flares 100% Gas Output Earns Zero Revenue In Sept
In spite of the Federal Government’s gas monetisation policy and pledge to the United Nations to attain net zero by 2060, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. flared 100 per cent of their gas output in September and earned no revenue from it during this period.
The NNPCL gas production and utilisation data for September 2022, obtained by The Tide’s source described its subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company as one of the worst offenders in gas flaring in September.
The firm and its Joint Venture partners, Seplat Petroleum Development Company and NPDC-Chevron Nigeria, flared 100 per cent of their entire gas output of 106 million standard cubic feet of gas and 7 million standard cubic feet of gas, respectively.
The firm further noted that Newcross Exploration and Production Ltd and Belema Oil flared about 96 per cent and 75 per cent of their 112 million standard cubic feet of gas and 21 million standard cubic feet of gas, respectively.
Also, about 8 billion SCF of gas was flared in September, representing 5 per cent of the total gas output for the month, compared with 10 billion SCF of gas flared in the month, of August, according to the report.
This is coming at a time the country is battling a cash crunch due to a drop in its oil revenue on the back of a significant decline in oil production which dipped to below 1million barrels per day, the lowest in 32 years.
The government has been relying heavily on borrowing to finance its activities, as its debt reached an all-time high of N42.84 trillion in June.
The NNPCL gas production and utilisation data did not state why the firm had flared the whole of its gas production for the month. The firm’s spokesperson, Garba Deen, did not also respond to both phone calls and messages sent to him.
Mobil emerged as the highest gas producer in the month under review with a total output of about 25 BSCF of gas, out of which it utilised 23 BSCF of gas and flared 1.6 BSCF of gas.
Shell Nigeria followed with a total gas output of about 25 BSCF of gas, utilising 24 BSCF and flaring 0.5 BSCF; Chevron Nigeria produced about 24 BSCF of gas, out of which it utilised 23 BSCF and flared 0.2 BSCF of gas and Total Energies Nigeria produced about 23 BSCF of gas, out of which it utilised 22 BSCF and flared 0.6 BSCF of gas.
LECAN Seeks Task Force On Electricity Standards Compliance
The Licensed Electrical Contractors Association of Nigeria (LECAN), a key stakeholder in the power sector saddled with the mandate of maintaining standards and professionalism in electricity services delivery, has called for the establishment of Monitoring Task Forces across the 36 states of Nigeria to effect compliance in standards.
National President of the body, Dr John Ekere Etim, gave the charge during the inauguration of the newly elected executives of LECAN in Rivers State, weekend.
Etim, who identified quackry as the bane of the power sector, blamed the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NIMSA) of compromising standards by issuing corporate licence to individuals and firms without any professional know- how in electricity services.
He urged members to always strive to apply their professional experiences to save the society from the risk of patronage of non-professionals.
“Such vigilance against the activities of infiltrators will sanitise the electricity sector and rid it of substandards in projects execution”, he said.
He said LECAN has since its establishment by law under the then Federal Ministry of Mines and Power, lived up to its mandate, but faced with the challenges of a compromised privatisation policy in power sector reforms, which “encourages substandards and incompetence in service delivery.”
The National President, who emphasised that electricity contracts should be handled by LECAN members who are certified electrical contractors, called for stronger synergy between the association and the government to address the challenges of the power sector.
He urged the newly elected executives to prioritise training and retraining of members to meet up with modern technological trends in the discharge of their professional obligations.
In his remark, a veteran member of the association, Elder Emmanuel Okas Wike, thanked God for the continuous existence of the body despite challenges, and called on the younger generation of membership not to renege on the mandate of the body.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the National President on Special Duties, Elder Friday Kor, congratulated the newly inaugurated executive and called for the encouragement of skilled electrical personnel to do proper registration as licensed electrical service providers.
The newly elected executives of LECAN in Rivers State include: Pst Lekia Emmanuel (Chairman); Asuquo Effiong Udoh (Vice chairman); Order Nornubari Kor (Secretary); and Elder Mission T Sagbara (Treasurer).
Others are: Daniel Peter Udoh (Financial secretary); and Ifeanyi Love Omokuwho, who is to serve as Pubic Relations Officer.
When Will Geothermal Energy Go Mainstream?
As governments worldwide encourage greater innovation in renewable energy beyond wind and solar power, with significant funding opportunities available, alternative green energy sources are popping up around the globe, having been long neglected.
Despite the knowledge of a variety of renewable energy sources for several decades, most countries have focused on the low-cost sources that are easiest to produce. But the potential for many alternative energies is significant, requiring greater research and development to establish fruitful operations.
One such power source is geothermal, with the potential to harness the power of the Earth’s heat to produce abundant clean energy.
Yet, overcoming the barriers of access, with the need to drill deep into the Earth’s surface, has deterred many companies from investing in geothermal projects. Yet, both the EU and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) have highlighted the significant potential for geothermal energy in supporting a transition to green.
Now, French automaker, Renault, has announced it is betting big on the power source, but will others follow in its footsteps?
The EU has established an Implementation Working Group for deep geothermal (DG working group) to encourage greater investigation into geothermal energy in Europe, and to provide a clean heating and electricity source.
The DG working group is overseeing the rollout of the Deep geothermal implementation plan (IP). DG believes that establishing a geothermal energy industry in Europe will support the achievement of the European Green Deal and the Horizon Europe goals, with a switch from fossil fuels to geothermal expected to help decarbonise up to 25 percent of the region’s energy needs.
It is also thought that with the existing technology, 25 percent of the European population can cost-effectively deploy geothermal heating.
European Commission (EC) research showed that geothermal energy could help Europe in its aim to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.
Geothermal energy is expected to contribute to Europe’s green energy mix, supporting modernised district and communal heating systems and helping achieve the EU’s 2022 REPowerEU Plantargets.
The development of a geothermal industry is also expected to help advance other renewable energy operations, with the potential for mineral extraction from geothermal fluids to enable sustainable lithium production.
Therefore, the EC is supporting several research projects into geothermal energy innovations that will help with Europe’s green transition.
Geothermal energy is generated by accessing underground heat pockets by drilling down into the surface of the Earth.
Thermal energy can be accessed in the rocks and water just a few miles underground by drilling into underground reservoirs to tap into geothermal sources. The heat can then drive turbines for electricity production.
Some projects have already been rolled out. For example, Croatia, which sits on top of an area of land with strong geothermal potential, has developed a geothermal plant, which stands out in the landscape due to its resemblance to a flying saucer.
The hope is to establish a 24-hour supply of energy for a carbon-free electricity grid, providing the green print for future projects in neighbouring Austria, Hungary, and Serbia.
The CEO of the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency, Marijan Krpan, stated, “There is a huge potential to generate a lot of electricity out of this. There is a huge potential for district heating. And there is a huge potential for agriculture.”
However, despite the growing interest in geothermal energy, it is still little talked about at the international level, with most governments and energy firms continuing to invest heavily in wind and solar power. But this might be set to change.
In November, the automaker, Renault, announced it would be partnering with French utility Engie for the next 15 years to develop and run a geothermal project at its Douai facility.
Drilling operations are expected to commence in 2023, with plans to extract hot water at a depth of 4,000 meters.
The work is expected to meet the industrial and heating process needs by as early as 2025, with water temperatures between 130 and 140oc.
Renault stated that “Once implemented, this geothermal technology would provide a power of nearly 40 MW continuously.”
In addition, “In summer, when the need for heat is lower, geothermal energy could be used to produce carbon-free electricity,” it added.
But will this encourage other companies to follow in its footsteps? The once little-talked-about energy source is gradually gaining traction, especially as major political powers such as the EU and the U.S. provide funding for innovative geothermal solutions.
It may require a greater number of major private energy, automotive, and industry players to publicly make the move for others to understand the potential of geothermal and invest in this green energy source.
By: Felicity Bradstock
Bradstock reports for Oilprice.com
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