The European Union (EU) delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS has moved to replace gas from Russia with Nigerian gas following the invasion of UKraine by Russia and the global energy crisis triggered by the raging war as well as the consequences on European countries.
The deputy director-general, department for (Energy), European Commission in Brussels, Mr Matthew Baldwin, made this known at a news conference on Friday, stressing that the EU would meet with Nigerian top government officials and private sector players, including key stakeholders in the country’s energy sector to work out the modalities.
EU and its allies have slammed multiple sanctions on the Vladimir Putin’s Government in Russian as the EU’s executive body had urged member states to slash their gas consumption by 15 per cent warning that a complete shutdown of Russian supplies was “likely”.
“In summary, I am on a mission from Europe to try to deliver Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) today in the context of NLG partnership tomorrow with Nigeria.
“Europe is in a tight spot in relations to gas, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the instability in our gas market and the threat of cutting off supply altogether.
“So, we have launched the energy platform task force and the primary goal is to reach out to our reliable partners such as Nigeria to replace the gas from Russia with gas from reliable partners,” Baldwin said.
He said further that early this week, the EU launched a gas demand reduction plan and is looking to reduce demand of gas by 15 per cent to manage the demand aspect of the equation.
“To be clear, we need to manage the supply side and that’s why we want to expand what is currently at 14 per cent shares of our total LNG import from Nigeria and we want it to go up.
“Our gas percentage was 60 per cent but now we want to go up,” he said.
He added that Nigerian products had an extraordinary potentials and that was why EU wanted to expand the short- term delivery.
Baldwin sounded optimistic that the partnership with Nigeria on the gas supply will commence by the end of August, adding that it would create a long term partnership with Nigeria.
Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi, in her remarks, said that the bloc was doing its part in contributing to the energy sector through different collaborations with Nigerian Government.
She said “currently, EU’s contribution stands at 400 million euros “
She added that EU as a bloc remains Nigeria’s biggest trading partner accounting for more than 20 per cent of Nigerian trade with the world.
According to current data, in 2021 the volume of EU-Nigeria trade stood at 28.7 billion euros (an increase of more than 25 per cent over 2020) with a trade balance of 6.4 billion euros in favour of Nigeria.