Stakeholders warned yesterday in Abuja that unless the continent develops a local market for its hydrocarbon resources, its 125 billion barrels and more than 630 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas reserves may remain untapped.
Timipre Sylva, the minister of state for petroleum resources, and Gabriel Obiang Lima, the minister of hydrocarbons for Equatorial Guinea and the current president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), expressed concern for what would happen to Africa’s hydrocarbon resources in the face of energy transition and climate change initiatives.
Sylva stated that attempts are already being made to create a market while urging support for an African Energy Bank and the growth of indigenous content throughout the continent.
The majority of African economies, particularly Nigeria’s, depend on revenue from fossil fuels to stay afloat. After wasting years of the revenue from the resource, the movement against fossil fuels to safeguard the earth has knocked the nations off balance.
Sylva bemoaned the lack of investment in the industry and added that given Africa’s unfathomably high prevalence of energy poverty and the world’s fastest-growing population, the continent’s energy needs would only increase exponentially in the near future.
“While taking cognisance of the current global drive towards renewable energy, Africa will undoubtedly need to continue to utilise its abundant oil and gas resources for the continent to be delivered from the shackles of perpetual energy poverty and stunted economic growth.
“I implore you, Excellency, to use the opportunity of your Presidency tenure to promote the cause of Africa and attract more investments into the oil and gas industry in the continent. I am of the opinion that local content should be at the driver’s seat for investments in Africa’s oil and gas industry, for the continent to witness sustainable development,” he said.
According to Sylva, the ongoing effort to form an African Energy Bank is a step in the right direction.
The majority of the newly producing oil reserves, Lima pointed out, are in Africa, and he emphasized how sacred the market and investment in the resource are.
He asserts that in order to develop a viable market, Nigeria and other oil-producing African nations must work together.
He also criticized energy poverty on the continent, saying that it must carefully consider energy security in light of its expanding population.