Nigeria is a land of plentiful opportunities for local businesses and foreign investors, with a whole lot going on in its rapidly developing energy sector, particularly the oil and gas, renewables, and electricity space, says Samuel Olawepo of Famsville Solicitors.
“Nigeria is a good place to invest, and one of the primary things on our new administration’s mind is developing Nigeria’s energy space,” noted Olawepo. “When it comes to taking up renewable energy projects and gas projects, it's the front burner for the current administration.”
On 20 September, new Nigerian President Bola Tinubu spoke before the UN General Assembly, asking for enhanced international cooperation with African nations to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. He said that for Nigeria to fulfil its duty, it must create jobs, foster economic growth and investor confidence, and welcome partnerships with those willing for Nigeria and Africa to assume a larger role in the global community.
He also told the global energy industry that Nigeria had never been more ready for business.
Olawepo explained that last year Nigeria launched an Energy Transition Plan aimed at realising a neutral carbon economy by 2060. The country has also passed a Climate Change Act in furtherance of its obligations to reduce emissions, and relaunched its National Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme to help reduce emissions and create sustainable value from petroleum resources.
“That gas flare programme aims to contribute about 2 000 megawatts of electric power, and by that obligation Nigeria is targeting establishing neutral emissions by 2060 as well,” said Olawepo, whose ESG-focused full service firm has pan-African reach and a “thriving and agile” energy practice. “We’ve also had the most historic event in our oil and gas space with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which had been in the pipeline for maybe over a decade and is set to reposition Nigeria’s oil and gas space as a regional power.”
In concert with that Act, says Olawepo, Nigeria has renewed its commitment to establish more refineries, and has formed “massive investments” into the space to boost domestic supply and position Nigeria as a net exporter of refined petroleum products. At the same time, the new government has committed to generating electricity through gas and renewables projects.
In the years ahead, there will be plentiful opportunities for those investing in Nigeria.
“There’s a whole lot of gas projects and renewable energy projects that will be ongoing,” said Olawepo, whose firm has advised investors and energy clients on licensing, due diligence, financing, deal structuring, and various contractual matters. “One thing that in the past has stalled projects is lack of access to funding, so as things develop there are many opportunities for foreign investors to finance some or all of these Nigerian energy projects.”
Constitutional changes in Nigeria also mean state governments can now take on their own projects for electricity generation, transmission and distribution, opening up opportunities to partner on state- and national projects, Olawepo explained. “Foreign investors can either finance or take on projects. There’ll be lots of public-private partnerships going on in Nigeria, and investors can also come to train indigenous citizens to do all these things themselves.”
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