The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has called for more integration among countries within the West African sub-region towards providing lasting solutions to the region’s numerous energy challenges.
He spoke during a meeting with the United States Energy Secretary, Rick Perry and some African petroleum ministers, on the sidelines of the 19th CERAWeek Conference taking place in Houston, United States.
A statement yesterday explained that Baru said energy integration across the sub-region was necessary as it will drastically reduce unemployment and restiveness as well as improve the economies of the affected countries.
“Nigeria as a regional leader has already encouraged regional integration by first putting up the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) to ensure gas is available to West Africa. We are also doing the Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP), even as we are intent on extending the WAGP to Morocco,” Baru was quoted to have said on the occasion.
He said the intention was to come up with a West African Power Pool that would put up power plants and other gas-based industries along those areas within the respective countries.
The GMD said Nigeria’s crude oil production had seen tremendous improvement in recent years, due to Federal Government’s laudable efforts in ensuring security in the Niger Delta region.
He said Nigeria and the U.S have been very good partners with about $35billion worth of trade between the two countries.
Earlier in his remarks, Perry expressed U.S commitment towards helping Africa achieve energy independence for the benefit of the people.
“For our part, we will support progress by engaging economically as well as championing open markets in societies. We endorse the modernisation of critical oil and gas infrastructure which leads to better security and diversification of energy supplies and exports,” he said.
Describing innovation as the surest path to energy security, Perry said once countries innovate, they are greeted with greater economic growth, opportunities and national security.
“We support efforts to improve the regional inter-connectivity. We also see energy access as critical to increasing prosperity and combating the cycle of poverty,” he said.
He said as the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world, the U.S was more than well-positioned to not only share its resources, but also its technology and know-how.
He said his country would work towards transforming the Africa’s domestic energy systems so that it would provide power, create jobs, foster development, open up new opportunities and improve almost every facet of human existence on the continent.