The Energy Institute (EI) is an international training organisation that builds capacity, through designed trainings, which transcends the energy environment, providing opportunities for energy professionals across the value chain.
Recently, EI had its Energy Sustainability Conference that was held in Lagos, with participants across the energy sector in attendance. The event provided an opportunity for stakeholders to dialogue on salient issues concerning the sector and how to advance it forward.
In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer of EI, Louise Kingham, said, the climate science is clear and energy professional must remove harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to levels that limit the damage that global temperature rises can cause.
In Nigeria the climate risks are becoming increasingly evident. Desertification affecting as much as 60% of the land, and roughly 350,000 acres lost each year. Climate change is exacerbating problems of food shortages and land scarcity.
She said, “transformational change is needed in approach to developing, supplying and using energy, at a vastly accelerated pace.”
But as the Nigerian proverb goes – the same sun that melts wax is also capable of hardening clay. She said the climate challenge is real, “but I am a great believer in human ingenuity. It is within our ability to tackle this existential problem and chart a pathway for a sustainable energy future.”
ROLE OF OIL & GAS IN TRANSITION
Nigeria occupies a very particular and crucial place in the global energy economy, as both a major producer and exporter of oil and gas, Kingham added.
The move to low carbon needs to be faster to guard against unintended consequences. Oil and gas still account for some 60% of the energy on which the world depends and vital companies involved should continue to attract the talent they need to sustain that.
Kingham opined that there are millions of people yet to have access to the most elementary energy – including the 40% of Nigerian households that do not have access to electricity. “So, we cannot turn off the taps overnight.”
The EI CEO was of the view that oil and gas companies have to be among those helping to avert the worst impacts of climate change. They have the research and development capabilities, the incredible engineers on the payroll, and the financial heft. It is hard to find an Oil and Gas Company that is not considering the changes that lie ahead. In light of the science, the international accord, investor and public pressure, and the falling costs of alternative energy technologies, many are already acting to improve the methane and carbon footprints in production and transportation of hydrocarbons.
According to Kingham, climate change is not the only overarching challenge facing the global energy sector – the need to improve workforce diversity is equally pressing.
Both are intrinsically linked. She said, “we will not succeed in the fight against climate change without using all of the best brains our societies have to offer. A modern, diverse energy mix requires a modern, diverse workforce.”
Kingham believed that those companies that invest in people and skills will reap dividends in financial terms too.
She decried persistently low numbers of girls and young women “studying STEM at school and university is one factor, but so too is the dearth of women at the top in our industry.”
She submitted that her board at the EI is one of the most diverse of any professional engineering institution in the UK, in terms of both gender and ethnicity. This has benefitted the organization profoundly.
The EI CEO highlighted the hugely talented pool of women working in the industry in Nigeria, as well as the opportunities that increased diversity bring to the energy community in the Country.
Diversity makes business sense, “Not only will society reject this industry if it fails to diversify, this industry will also fail to rise to the climate change.”
THE ENERGY INSTITUTE
She said it is the job of professionals to put in place dynamic skills needed to establish new technologies. These are as essential to the pipeline of new talent embarking on their careers, as they are to experienced leaders, who need to continually learn to keep at the top of their professional game.
Kingham was glad that EI is working into new areas using expertise in health and safety that it has developed, applied and honed over the past century in Oil and Gas. “We’re extending the benefits to more of the workforce, in more parts of the industry, in more dynamic ways.”
As an independent, not-for-profit organisation, EI gathers and shares essential knowledge about energy, but also helps to equip professionals with the skills to use it more wisely and safely. It brings global expertise together through its extended network of ingenious people.
Kingham disclosed that membership stretches across the energy system, from conventional Oil and Gas, through to innovative renewable and energy efficient technologies.
She revealed that EI is an inter-disciplinary network – from engineers and scientists to energy managers, economists and lawyers. “The one thing that connects us all is energy.”
It is a global network spanning 120 countries, with concentrations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and West Africa. In the EI 20,000 members, almost 1,000 are based in West Africa – mostly in Nigeria.
The EI and its team facilitate and foster collaboration, promoting knowledge, skills and practice for public good.
Kingham told participants at the event that individual membership of EI opens the door to networking opportunities, knowledge resources and professional recognition. Its industry leading programme of conferences, training and technical seminars are seen as essential by individuals pursuing careers across the sector.
For companies, the energy industry looks to the EI to develop the guidance needed to ensure highest standards of health, safety and environmental responsibility, helping to protect people, assets and the environment.