With the declining global investment in the oil and gas sector, the minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has restated the need for the establishment of an African energy bank to help boost business activities in the sector on the continent.
Sylva who said this when he received the minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, in his office in Abuja, yesterday, said Nigeria will continue to lend full support to the efforts of both OPEC and GECF in their quest to balance and stabilize the energy market for the benefit of all.
Lima doubles as the 2023 President of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Conference and President of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Council of Ministers.
Sylva, who congratulated Lima for the rare honor of presiding over two giant energy institutions at the same time, urged him to use the opportunity of his tenure to promote the cause of Africa and attract more investments into the oil and gas industry in the continent.
The Nigerian minister said that local content should be at the driver’s seat for investments in Africa’s oil and gas industry, for the continent to witness a sustainable development.
“With the fastest growing population in the world, and an unimaginable prevalent energy poverty level across the continent, Africa’s energy need will continue to grow in leaps and bounds over the foreseeable future. It is estimated that about 640 million Africans have no access to electricity, while about 900 million Africans have no access to clean cooking fuels.”
“Local content should be at the driver’s seat for investments in Africa’s oil and gas industry, for the continent to witness a sustainable development. “In this context, the on-going move to establish an African Energy Bank is a right move in the right direction,” Sylva said.
According him, Lima’s presiding over both organisations at the same time portends good fortune for Africa which include seven countries as OPEC members out of the current 13 members. They include Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Libya and Nigeria.
OPEC accounts for about 80 per cent of the global proven crude oil reserves, 38 per cent of production, and 48 per cent of exports.
Sylva said it was likewise remarkable that Africa has produced the fourth President of OPEC Conference in consecutive years.
“This is a demonstration of Africa’s capability to lead and direct global affairs, and to take its rightful place among the comity of nations on global issues,” he said.
On the gas side, the minister of state said the GECF currently has 12 full-fledged members of which five are African countries – Algeria, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Nigeria. “Together, the GECF member countries hold about 72 per cent of the global proven gas reserves, 44 per cent of marketed production, 56 per cent of exports by pipeline and 52 per cent as LNG exports around the world adding that Nigeria signed GECF statute in 2008.
Responding, Lima said one of the key things that he will champion during his tenure is to eradicate the energy poverty that the African continent is suffering.
Also, the said he plans to tackle how to increase Africa’s energy security.
On the issue of local content, he urged that African countries refocus on technology transfer and not remain fixated on getting contracts and creating employment.