African Oil Week is well on its way and will be finalised at the end of this week.
The conference looked at the impact of climate change and environmental damage, as many countries on the continent explored their natural gas resources.
At the event, a number of panels involving delegates from various East African countries stated that “gas reserves off the East Coast of Africa have a far lower carbon content than the global average”.
This is why investment in the region is so attractive for world investors.
“The beauty of gas derived from the East Coast of Africa is that it is extremely low on CO2 content,” said Unni Fijaer, vice president and Tanzania country manager for Equinor, which is currently developing offshore natural gas resources in Tanzania.
“This East African gas has around one-thirds of the global average carbon content and is also extremely low in liquids,” said Fijaer.
“It is a really pure gas, which makes it ideal for meeting the world’s energy needs, while minimising its carbon emissions impacts.”
Fijaer was one of the guests speaking on the subject of how Africa can monetise its gas opportunities.
At the conference, a number of experts noted that Africa has an abundance of natural gas reserves and that this gas has the potential to be a transition fuel in the move towards renewable-based energy.
Natural gas can also ensure that Africa has energy security and is by far a lower carbon emitter than oil production for energy.
Africa has more than 5,000 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas resources that have yet to be developed, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
According to the research, “if brought into production, these resources could provide an additional 90 bcm of gas a year by 2030, while keeping the continent’s share of global carbon emissions to a mere 3.5%”.
Fijaer argues that Africa is facing two major global issues.
“We are facing the impacts of climate change, which we have all experienced. But at the same time, there is a significant gap when it comes to access to energy. Gas offers a solution.”
Fijaer used Norway as an example to showcase how African states can use natural gas and oil to enrich a nation.
“Norway was a pretty poor country, but when oil and gas were discovered, the government ensured that revenues were channelled into the country’s development. African countries with gas reserves like Tanzania can embark on a similar development journey, as long as we ensure that energy projects are a win-win arrangement for both investors and the host nations.”
Energy revenues have the opportunity to have a transformative effect on a state by “stimulating the fiscus and allowing for further investments,” according to Fijaer.
Chairman of the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, Ombeni Sifue, agreed with Fijaer and argued that a state has “a right to develop its resources to support the upliftment of its people”.
“Africa’s resources have enriched a lot of people, but not Africans,” he said. "It's time to use Africa’s resources for its own development and to address energy poverty.”
Nigeria’s is open for business
Nigeria is fast becoming a powerhouse in the gas sector in Africa.
Olu Verheijen, Special Advisor to the Nigerian President on Energy, noted that the country sees oil and gas as a main driver of economic opportunity in the coming years.
“Although Nigeria’s oil and gas sector contributes less than 10% to GDP, it accounts for 90% of foreign exchange earnings and 60% of fiscal income,” Verheijen said.
Verheijen told delegates that the central priority of the new Nigerian administration, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is “to harness all our resources to transform Nigeria into a thriving, productive, and diversified economy”.
She called for significant investment in the sector and argued that Nigeria is open for business.
“We require significant investments to restore and grow production in Nigeria,” Verheijen concluded.