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It is early to say no to oil and gas: TotalEnergies

Total-boss-Patrick-Pouyanne. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of TotalEnergies says the current energy market disruptions have reinforced the necessity of dialogue on a global basis about the energy transition.

Pouyanné in a statement said with the increased penetration of renewables globally, natural gas keeps a key role in the energy transition to ensure firm power, in addition to pushing out coal in all sectors of final demand.

The French energy giant on Tuesday released its Energy Outlook 2022. The document suggests investment in new oil and gas developments is required until at least the mid-2030s to satisfy customer demand. It further observes that the current high energy prices have put energy efficiency at the top of the energy policy agenda in many OECD countries.

Researchers say the current crisis should be an opportunity to increase and anchor energy saving and efficiency measures as they are the fundamental basis of any scenario to reach the Paris Agreement objectives.

TotalEnergies Outlook 2022 released ahead of the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference-COP27 seems to agree with Uganda and the Africa Group’s position against calls for an end to natural gas, as part of the energy transition.

In July, a technical committee of the African Union adopted “The African Common Position on Energy Access and Just Transition.”

At the peak of the war in Ukraine, the European Union Commission also adopted a law endorsing fossil gas or natural gas as a “transition fuel”. But as the world heads to COP27 in Egypt, there is a feeling that no new oil and gas projects should be invested in.

The European Parliament over a week ago adopted a resolution calling for a delay in the planned construction of the East Africa Crude Oil (EACOP) and the upstream oil projects under the Lake Albert Development project.

While the EU Parliament claimed there were human rights abuses related to EACOP, some have suggested that the broader resolution was aimed at TotalEnergies which has a 62 percent stake in EACOP and is the developer of the Tilenga project where hundreds of wells will be sunk to get oil out of the ground.

TotalEnergies Outlook 2022 says investment in new oil and gas developments is required until at least the mid-2030s to satisfy customer demand, even in below 2°C scenarios.

According to the outlook, investment in low carbon power must double by 2030 to reach 1.5 Trillion dollars per year. The African Group through the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has observed that the continent is not mobilizing enough investments at the domestic and international levels to accelerate the uptake of renewables.

For example, over US$2.8 trillion was invested in renewables globally over the last 20 years with Africa getting only 2% of the potential, despite its huge renewable energy potential and the need to provide access to over half of the population.

With those concerns, it has been observed that non-renewable energy, especially fossil fuels plays a major role in the energy systems and economies of African countries.

About 77% of the electricity generated on the continent is from fossil fuels, while the transport and industrial sectors rely almost entirely on these fuels. Fossil fuels including coal, oil, and natural gas, account for about 50-80% of government revenues for major producing countries on the continent.

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