Strategic enablers of Foreign Direct Investment into Africa’s Oil & Gas Sector, Foreign Investment Network, a UK Based Firm, organised a virtual meeting with the Secretary General, African Petroleum Producers Organization on October 14th.
The event which drew participation from The United Kingdom, Nigeria, Portugal, The United States, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville and Equatorial Guinea, had the opening remarks and welcome address delivered by the Head of Oil and Gas, Wofai Samuel.
Wofai stated that it was imperative for Oil Producers across the continent to deliberate on new strategies on dealing with the current uncertainties the Petroleum industry is saddled with.
This she said, was against the backdrop that OPEC had long cut down oil production by more than 10 million barrels per day, the rise in oil prices and lingering COVID – 19 pandemic, which remains a huge deterring factor.
Alluding to the subject, the Secretary General, APPO, Dr. Omar Ibrahim Farouk, who previously served as Nigeria’s Governor to OPEC, Group Managing Director of International Energy Relations at The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – NNPC and Special Adviser to four different Ministers of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria, said Africa can’t keep depending on the west to fund and provide technology for the oil industry else it’s growth will remain impeded.
Engineer Henry Obih, Immediate Past Group Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – NNPC & Executive Director Exxonmobil, currently on the board of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and Non – Executive Director, Fidelity Bank, stated that, the priority for Africa is to produce oil not for export but for consumption across the continent.
Obih further stated that, 90% of what is produced across the continent is taken out owing to insufficient refineries.
Many African countries can produce more than what they are currently producing today if they have the finances and right technology, he concluded.
Dr. Omar Farouk, further emphasised on what APPO is doing and it’s intent to set up a corporation that brings out energy, efficient enough to fight the big energy problem the continent currently faces.
On whether the continent can afford to move away from oil into renewable energy, Ibrahim said,
Africa is not ready to abandon fossil fuel because if we attempt to do that, we are going to be 90% more dependent on imported energy.
He also added that Africa needs to build energy infrastructure across the continent that will cater to it’s Energy needs if it expects energy to be available at an affordable cost.
Other participants included: Arvy Nahar, a Contracts Specialist in Oil & Gas from the United Kingdom and Current Member of the Board of Liberian Chamber of Commerce, she urged African investors to focus more on the energy sector for local consumption whilst reducing export. She added that a number of IOCs are scaling down their financial commitments in the oil and gas industry and if this continues, then even the funds for research will dwindle.
Co-founder of Na AMA Africa, Ana Albuquerque mentioned that if the west were the ones with plenty oil, they are more likely to focus on the technology that will make oil environmentally more friendly such that the issue to GHE will not be so critical to the environmental discuss.
Oil & Gas Lawyer, Adeyemi Akinsanya, mentioned that Africa occupies a little less than 10% of global oil production, and the challenge in Africa today is that although majority of the countries are finding oil, Africa is rising from 7% to 9% getting to 10% in oil production but the industry is still very highly dependent on external technology and funding.
Dr. Femi Osidele, a Renewable Energy Consultant, mentioned that if global greenhouse emissions are going to be cut by 20% by 2020 and renewables are going to be increased by 20%, we risk making investment and producing oil that may not make the market, not because there is no need for energy but because the developed world has said that it is high time we left hydrocarbons for renewables.
Dr. Omar Farouk reiterated that a lot of countries in Africa are finding Oil and at the same time COP21 says they discourage investments in oil and hydrocarbons, as renewables are preferred.
Africa is largely dependent on external bodies – Europe and America for oil technology, talk more renewable energy technology he added.
Career Diplomat and Nigeria’s former Ambassador to France, Akin Fayomi mentioned the need for Intra-African Trade across the Oil and Gas sector, as well as collaborations between budding and established oil companies in the Upstream and Downstream.
Chairman – Foreign Investment Network, Yinka Fayomi said no African country has what it takes to drive the kind of investment and technology needed in the oil sector, and as a result, APPO is bringing these countries together to build infrastructure that cuts across countries.
Once we are able to have energy infrastructure that cuts across the continent, that we will be able to cut the cost of energy across the continent and that is what APPO has been doing with the West African gas pipeline. They have floated in Africa Energy Investment Corporation and have planned to make it private sector driven with little of Government’s Investment.
Reginald Mba from Harvard University, Mentioned that it was necessary for the Petroleum Industry to partner with the health sector in ensuring healthy practices thru the entire pandemic and post Covid.
Wofai Samuel concluded by saying that, the quantity of oil produced in a country will not affect the oil price. The only thing that can do that is to set up infrastructure that will take energy from places where it was produced to places where it is needed and when you do that, you build a continental market.
The Virtual meetings will be continuous with the next edition focused on Local Content in Africa’s Petroleum Industry, she affirmed.
Other Participants included tho not limited to; Eric Stambler from Project Capital +, Winnie Gaillard,
Jide Akintunde from Financial Nigeria.