To curtail the global rising oil price and ensure energy security, African oil producing countries have been challenged to scale up their oil exploration and production.

This is because an increased exploration, production and protection of oil and gas investments have become imperative to guarantee strong energy mix and security.

This was the position of the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, an engineer, at the opening ceremony of the 44th Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE) organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Council in Lagos yesterday.

The theme of the conference is “Global Transition to Renewable and Sustainable Energy and the Future of Upstream Oil and Gas in Africa.”

According to him, the recent increase in the price of energy mostly occasioned by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the ensuing energy disruption has reawakened the call for geopolitical energy security and sustainability. He said that in the United Kingdom, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) – formerly the Oil and Gas Authority – is envisaging a leasing and licensing round for oil and gas exploitation and future projects.

Komolafe explained that it is evident that in meeting the growing energy demand in the short and medium term, the upstream oil and gas industry in Africa would need to carry out further exploration and development drilling to optimise reservoir extraction, drill into new targets and employ technological advances to optimise production yields for appropriate energy mix.

“We, at the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, have steered our focus towards working with all stakeholders to ensure business investments in the oil and gas sector are adequately protected. We are striving to ensure that all bottlenecks associated with regulatory processes are eliminated or minimised, to ensure seamless operations as we gradually roll out the key policy initiatives necessitated by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021. We are positioning gas as our transition fuel while adopting a phase- down approach in our energy transition quest geared towards paying greater attention to the development of untapped gas resources. This energy source with a low carbon footprint would serve as the transition fuel in meeting our energy security as a nation,” he said.