Use your oil, gas to address energy challenge, Sylva tells African countries

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said that the continuous use of Africa’s abundant gas resources would deliver the continent from energy poverty.

Sylva, who made the call when he hosted visiting OPEC President, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima Tuesday in Abuja, said, with dwindling investment in the oil and gas sector, it was important that the continent’s oil and gas producers create their own market to be able to address the situation.

According to the minister, with an ever increasing population, it is pertinent that the continent looks inward saying local content should play a key role in driving growth in the sector.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot conclude my remarks without alluding to a pertinent challenge that currently threatens the oil and gas industry in Africa.  This has to do with dwindling investments.  With the fastest growing population in the world, and an unimaginable prevalent energy poverty level across the continent, Africa’s energy needs 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. While taking cognizance of the current global drive towards renewable energy, Africa will undoubtedly need to continue to utilize its abundant oil and gas resources for the continent to be delivered from the shackles of perpetual energy poverty and stunted economic growth.  

“Africa has an enormous proven crude oil reserve of over 125 billion barrels, and over 630 trillion cubic foot (TCF) of natural gas reserves. Investment required in the medium term to sustain oil and gas production in the continent was recently estimated at an average of about $40 billion annually.

“I am of the opinion that local content should be at the drivers’ 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,” he explained.

Slyva urged the OPEC President to use the opportunity of his Presidency tenure to promote the cause of Africa and attract more investments into the oil and gas industry in the continent. 

He 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, as well as strengthening our shared values and protecting our common interest.

“Excellency, be rest assured that Nigeria stands ready to assist you in every way possible to ensure the success of your double tenure as the 2023 President of the OPEC Conference, and the President of the GECF Ministerial Council.” 

In his comments, Obiang Lima, who is Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, and 2023 President of the OPEC/GECF, said there was the need to drive local content in the continent’s oil, gas sector as it key to growing the industry.

The OPEC President explained that local content can only thrive when National Oil Companies (NOCs) start producing their own assets. He said that with more local content involvement in the sector, the continent would be able to address the energy challenge which continues to hamper growth and development.  

According to him, “NOCs should operate assets for their own assets and just for export. Control of resources must be through management and control of assets

“Technology transfer is as important as job creation, he added.

While acknowledging the need for climate action to address the devastating effect of climate change, the OPEC chief insisted that developed countries should do more to mitigate the effect of climate change.

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