By Adedapo Adesanya The federal government has revealed plans to construct nine new gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) by 2037. This was disclosed by Mr Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, at a conference organised by Seplat Energy held last week in Abuja. According to him, the gas-powered plants will further validate gas as viable and as transformational fuel in plans with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration Decade of Gas initiative. \u201cOur proven gas reserves are sufficient to cover current demand levels and support plans for the construction of nine new gas-fired power plants with a combined name-plate capacity of nearly 6,000 MW by 2037. "This validates gas as a viable and transformational fuel for industrial development. This is why President Muhammadu Buhari who is also the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources has declared 2021 \u2013 2030 as the \u201cDecade of Gas\u201d, which provides the fulcrum for focusing effort and resources required at making gas the centrepiece of Nigeria\u2019s economy by 2030,\u201c he said. Mr Sylva had described calls to phase out fossil fuel as a major concern, saying African countries are not ready for the transition, as most are currently grappling with other challenges, adding that Nigeria rejects a single approach to energy transmission. \u201cWhile acknowledging our commitments to net-zero as a nation, there is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria requires fossil fuel as its baseload energy source. "This is undoubtedly a major concern for climate activists in developed nations, but the clamour to emphasise only renewable energy as the sole pathway to energy transition is a source of concern for African countries that are still working to achieve baseload industrialisation, address energy poverty and ensure reliable power supply. \u201cIndeed, we prefer the concept of \u2018just\u2019 energy transition which takes into cognisance the specific circumstances of each nation in developing the energy transition pathway that best achieves the environmental, social, political and economic objectives of the transition in that specific nation. "Multiple pathways to the energy transition should and must exist in order to ensure that no country is left behind in the process of achieving net-zero by 2050\u201d, he said. The Minister added that in Nigeria, the position above recognises the possibility of a structural decline in the price of oil and consequential fiscal vulnerabilities that may arise, as well as the increased risk exposure, and is responding to it in several ways, adding that Nigeria would first focus on gas. \u201cFor us (Nigeria), this is at the heart of the energy transition and represents the first step in the journey to renewables away from oil. Already, we have declared that gas is our transition fuel, and also represents a destination fuel, as we envisage that it will be part of our energy mix by 2050 given the vast resources that can be commercialised and utilised," he noted. Furthermore, he said generous incentives have been proposed in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 to enable the development, distribution, penetration and utilisation of gas.