Africa Oil & Power To Discuss Renewables, LNG & Energy Finance In Cape Town

Africa Oil & Power 2020 highlights African integration across borders throughout the entire energy value chain; AOP 2020 welcomes presidents, ministers, national oil company and utility heads, IPP and renewables executives and more for the fifth edition of Africa’s Energy Conference; This year’s event will have a major focus on the driving factors behind Africa’s energy transition.

The fifth edition of Africa Oil & Power (AOP) returns to Cape Town on September 15-17, for three days of deal-making and discussions focused on Africa’s energy transition, industrialization, regional business and economic transformation.

For the first time, AOP will host the Africa Renewables Forum, the Africa LNG Forum and the Energy Finance Forum, in line with the vision of South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and government and private sector partners from all four corners of the continent.

The theme of this year’s conference, marking the entering into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area, is #InvestWithoutBoundaries. AOP 2020 is the only conference on the continent that fully unites power with petroleum, focusing on the driving factors behind Africa’s energy transition.

“AOP 2020 is the meeting place for Africa’s government officials, global investors and executives, to get deals done and continue moving the continent forward. This year’s conference will encompass the entire energy value chain, including the economic significance of expanding oil and gas exploration, the role of gas-to-power in electrifying Africa; the need to fully utilize and integrate renewables and the importance of using energy to spur growth and economic development throughout the continent,” says Africa Oil & Power Acting CEO, James Chester.

With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement now in its operational phase – establishing a single African market that encompasses the free trade of goods and movement between 54 countries – cross-border trade on the continent will lure investment, encourage job creation and place an emphasis on the need for new technology and cross-border collaboration.

Industry leaders will discuss gas exploration and production throughout the continent with countries including Mozambique, Ghana, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea positioning themselves as major gas players in Africa.

The Mozambique-based Rovuma LNG project envisages a 15 million ton per annum two-train facility, taking gas from its offshore area 4 block. Led by Eni and ExxonMobil, the Rovuma LNG project will develop reliable, affordable energy in the form of liquefied natural gas and transform the future of Mozambique. The final investment decision on the project will be made this year, with operations expected to begin in 20205.

Italian multinational oil and gas company ENI’s Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) project in Ghana reached full production in 2019, producing 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. OCTP will provide domestic gas supply to national thermal power plants for more than 15 years, addressing energy requirements in urban and rural areas.

Additionally, South Africa’s first LNG hub is set to be developed at the Coega Special Economic Zone in Port Elizabeth, which will stimulate the country’s gas economy and enhance energy security.

Equatorial Guinea, meanwhile, is pioneering gas development and trade in West and Central Africa through the construction of an LNG storage and regasification plant at the Port of Akonikien under the LNG2Africa initiative.

The use of renewable energy in Africa is rapidly increasing. South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement program has played a fundamental role in the country’s economic growth and providing an alternative form of energy. The hugely successful program has, to date, attracted R209.4 billion in investment and created over 38,000 jobs.

“The launch of the Africa Renewables Forum, the Africa LNG Forum and the Energy Finance Forum at AOP 2020 bring new and diverse energy sector audiences together on a single stage and in a single venue,” said Chester. “AOP brings new technology to Africa and stimulates new collaboration and trade on the continent. This is the platform where the next generation of projects and deals are initiated and advanced.”

Equatorial Guinea Outlines Oil & Gas Asian Investment Strategy

Ahead of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima outlined the country’s Asia-focused investment strategy following successful high-level discussions with state-owned oil and gas company Petro Vietnam and other Asian companies based in the United Arab Emirates.

During the meeting, Minister Obiang Lima said the energy investment drive into Equatorial Guinea does not have to be China-centric. He committed to visit the Southeast Asian country as well as other neighbouring countries as part of the investment drive.

“Equatorial Guinea has built a successful relationship with several Asian countries. Our approach is one of diversification with our investment partners. We welcome all interested private and public companies in Equatorial Guinea. Africa and Asia have a lot to learn from each other when it comes to oil & gas and energy sector development,” the Minister declared.

“Equatorial Guinea is particularly inspired by the success story of Singapore and sees lots of potential to position itself as a trading, manufacturing and investment hub in West and Central Africa in the same way as Singapore positioned itself in Asia.”

With an existing presence in Malaysia through its petroleum training initiative where hundreds of students are receiving industry education in Kuala Lumpur, Minister Obiang Lima said he is looking at various initiatives which will diversify the economy with the help of local communities.

To this, he noted that the existing relationship has already seen successful business relationships with private companies such as Weststar Aviation – an airline company based in Malaysia – who have established operations in Equatorial Guinea since taking over from Canadian Helicopters.

In building a robust services sector on the African continent and centering the Central African country as a regional hub for gas development, Equatorial Guinea has set out to target and build relationships with Singapore in particular, which comes as a continued vision since the Minister’s last visit to the country last November where the Oil Industry has a long historical relationship with fabrication of several FPSO already working in Equatorial Guinea.

Nigeria Set To Advance Gas Plans During NIPS Conference

Last month, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva declared 2020 as the Year of Gas for the West African Nation.

In line with this initiative, the Minister and the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, led by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will host the third annual Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) which will take place on February 9-12, 2020 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Determined to showcase Nigeria as the foremost oil and gas investment destination, the conference will feature a spotlight session on the Nigeria LNG Train-7 project, which recently reached the final investment decision on the major gas expansion deal that is set to boost the plant’s production capacity to 30 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), from the current 22.5 mtpa.

Further, NIPS will provide the opportunity for the nation to outline how local companies can lend a hand in the advancement of the country’s petroleum industry as it works to boost its output.

“Attracting over 5000 international energy industry executives, NIPS is the most opportune space for Nigeria to communicate its growth and development plans, more so since the Honorable Minister declared 2020 as the year of gas for the country,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group.

“Following the recent $10 billion investment on Train-7 which will enable the NLNG processing unit to remain the fifth-largest supplier of LNG in the world, Nigeria is right to build on this momentum,” he added.

The 2020 installment of the NIPS conference will be anchored by the theme, Widening the Integration Circle: Technology, Knowledge, Sustainability and Partnership and will present strategies and opportunities for growth in oil, gas and energy technologies as well as showcase major contract signings.

Speaker highlights include Former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Nigeria, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu; Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, OPEC Governor for Nigeria; Dr. Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General, International Energy Forum; Jean-Marc Thystère Tchicaya, Minister of Hydrocarbons, Republic of the Congo and Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

What Will It Take For 2020 To Truly Be The Year Of Gas In Nigeria?

By NJ Ayuk

“The Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva has declared 2020 as the year of Gas for the Nation”, the news piece started. What amazing news! And certainly long overdue. As it seems, Nigerian officials have finally taken the cue. As I have said ever so often, more than an oil nation, Nigeria is a gas nation. It just doesn’t act like it.

Undoubtedly, natural gas has the enormous potential to diversify and grow the Nigerian economy, power its industries and homes, produce ever-so-lacking wealth, create jobs, develop associated industries in the petrochemical sector, raise people out of poverty, the list goes on.

Mr. Sylva’s demonstrated intent could perhaps become the most relevant political action anyone has taken in Nigeria in years and could change the country forever; and yet, the work ahead is so vast, we can only hope he has the strength to pull it off.

To be sure, naming 2020 the year of gas for Nigeria has a really nice ring to it, but marketing alone will not cut it. Concerted governmental action is essential if we are to see true growth in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector, and first of all, we need to see a conclusion to the long delayed Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme. Sylva stated that this was his main priority, so let’s hope it happens soon.

Once the programme is cleared, oil producers will have a more conclusive alternative to flaring. They will be able to monetize a resource that has so far been wasted, but still that will not suffice.

The flaring issue in Nigeria is tremendous. Every year, 2 million tonnes of LPG are flared, instead of being used as a source of power or feedstock. That means millions of dollars literally going up in smoke. Nigeria’s zero-flaring programme has been on-going for years, and yet, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has just released results that indicate that gas flaring has been consistently increasing over time. More specifically, “a total of 276.04 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas was flared from Nigeria's oil fields between September 2018 and September 2019”.

Further, NNPC stated that “the volume of gas flared within this period was more than what was supplied to power generation companies for electricity production which was 275.31bcf”. This is taking place in a country where 45% of the population does not have access to electricity, besides the extremely detrimental effect that has on businesses ability to compete and the extraordinary environmental damage that represents.

Already, the federal government announced in August that it would not be able to fulfill its Zero Routine Flaring target by 2020 and is yet to provide a new deadline for this goal to be achieved.

The problem remains the same as ever. It is much, much cheaper for producers to flare up and pay the fines than do anything about it. This can not continue to be. Stronger action is needed and it falls on Mr. Sylva’s leadership to see it done.

I don’t mean by this to point the finger at oil producers. Most would probably want to monetize that resource, and would if they could. But we lack legislation, infrastructure, pricing regulations, and actors ready to receive the feedstock. They can’t just pipe the gas somewhere and hope for the best. We need to focus on deepening domestic gas penetration and promote adoption amongst the population, foster the development of gas associated industries like ammonia and urea plants, use this resource for power generation, etc. Demand doesn’t grow out of nowhere.

For this to workout, everybody needs to work together. That means the ministry and the NNPC need to partner with the international oil companies, the indigenous oil companies as well as with the country’s financial institutions to create the solutions that can make this industry flourish. That is a tall job, but an essential one.

Of course, the news that the output of liquefied natural gas (LNG) coming from the Bonny LNG-plant is going to expand by 35% once the 7th LNG train is operational is fantastic. Nigeria will strengthen its position as one of the world’s biggest LNG exporters and that will bring considerable wealth for the country, but its people continue to be in the dark.

And LNG expansion projects are something IOCs are well prepared to do, but there are other important roles in boosting the gas industry that have to be taken by others.

I speak of course of marginal field development, a topic that is of fundamental importance to me and that I have extensively covered in my most recent book Billions at Play: The Future of African Oil and Doing Deals. Both for oil and gas, Nigeria’s marginal field development programme showed incredible promise when it was first launched in 2013.

It gave opportunities to local companies to explore smaller discoveries that were uninteresting for the majors, which in turn allowed them to gain experience in leading exploration and production projects on their own. Further, it opened opportunities for domestic use of natural gas for power generation. That programme is now being copied by Angola, and yet, it has stalled in Nigeria.

Further, as I have extensively debated over the years, and most extensively in Billions at Play, we need to dramatically invest in Nigeria’s ability to negotiate and manage contracts. This applies both to the need to respect the sanctity of contracts, a fundamental part of giving international investors the confidence to trust that what they sign for will be respected, but also learning to choose who to sign contracts with. The current debacle with P&ID, an unknown little company that has managed to sue the Nigerian government for breach of contract in the English courts and is seeking USD$9.6 billion in compensation, is an incomprehensible situation that should never have taken place. We need to know who our partners are and who we should be signing contracts with, and then stick by them.

Only by combining the role of the majors, the indigenous companies, the necessary infrastructure development for gas transportation, bridging with the nation’s banks to help finance projects and by giving a clear legal framework to the sector, can we hope to succeed. I do not doubt that this is possible to accomplish in 2020 and the years to come, but coming from the experience of recent years, it does not seem probable, and no one pays the price for that more than everyday Nigerians, that continue to fail to benefit from its country’s resources.

Action is necessary as a matter of urgency.

This week it was disclosed that international oil and gas companies were holding back an estimated USD$58.4 billion in investments in oil and gas projects in Nigeria because of regulatory uncertainty. Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria was USD$1.9 billion in 2018. It’s not like we don’t need the money.

But how can we expect international oil companies to feel comfortable signing off on billions in investment if after 20-plus years of negotiations we still haven’t managed to settle on the Petroleum Industry Bill that will oversee the sector? Who can blame them for waiting to see what happens? They are waiting for us to figure out how we want to regulate the industry, and after 20 years, we still don’t seem to know. That has to change, and soon.

Nigeria has an estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. It is high-time to put them to use. With the right policies we could change the face of the country completely. We could give light to our people, we could power our industries, releasing them from the handicapping dependency on diesel generators that make it all but impossible for them to be competitive, we could relinquish ourselves from our dependency on imported fuel for power and heat, we could create new opportunities for job creation and industrial development, we could take millions of people out of poverty...

Further, strong domestic gas and gas-based industries could help boost intra-African trade, create new synergies with our neighbours, boost integration of power generation networks, establish new partnerships, even contribute to peace.

What I am saying, I say as an African, and it applies to many countries across the continent. However, Nigeria is in a prime position to truly enact change and be a beacon to others by showing leadership and resolve. It is the continent’s biggest economy and has the continent’s biggest reserves of hydrocarbons, both oil and gas. NNPC already works with some of the best major IOCs and the country has Africa’s best and most developed indigenous exploration and production capabilities. Let’s give ourselves the opportunity to be better and to live better, by taking advantage of the resources we already possess.

Mr. Sylva is showing leadership and drive. So far, he has proven himself to be the leader that Nigeria needs to develop new LPG and LNG industries that will take the country to the next level of development, not only economically speaking, but socially, environmentally, humanly. So let’s hope he can pull through the great transformations that need to occur for 2020 to truly be Nigeria’s year of gas.

NJ Ayuk is the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and author of Amazon best-selling book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

Waltersmith Modular Refinery Set To Meet The Scheduled Deadline

Phase one of the modular refinery and the ground breaking ceremony of the phase two is expected to hold in May 2020; The Waltersmith project has already reached 90 percent completion; The project falls in line with H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva's objectives to foster private sector participation in increasing domestic refinery capacity.

Last week, Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva paid an inspection visit to the Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Ohaji/Egbema LGA, Imo State.

Accompanied by Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Engr. Simbi K. Wabote, Minister Sylva said the Federal Government would continue on its efforts to ensure that the project meets the set deadline where phase one (5,000 bpd) of the modular refinery and the groundbreaking ceremony of phase two, which is targeted at delivering 25,000 bpd crude and condensate refinery; designed to produce gasoline, diesel, LPG, kerosene and aviation fuel, is expected in May 2020.

The minister said that the overall expectation of the site visit where the project that has already reached 90 percent completion, "was to see indigenous Nigerian Companies do well and the Waltersmith Modular Refinery is a major bright spot which has recently been incorporated into the Nation's projection for petroleum product sufficiency and availability."

Further, the minister directed that the NCMB and Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited (Waltersmith) should centre their attention to corporate social responsibility which will ensure a "sustained and successful relationship with the host community."

To this, AbdulRazaq Isa, Chairman of Waltersmith said the project's first phase would create several direct and indirect jobs for the host community.

"This project is crucial for the development of the refining sector on the continent. Alongside the Dangote refinery which is slated for completion in early 2021, Nigeria is quickly setting an example for the role private investment stands to play in the development of the industry's capabilities," said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

"Nigeria is Africa's largest crude producer, yet it lacks the refining capacity to meet its own fuel needs and through projects like these, the country is effectively making the move towards addressing this issue," he added.

The public-partnership sees Waltersmith holding a 70 percent interest while NCDMB holds the remaining 30 percent.

One of the main drives for the development of this project include the crude loss which comes as a result of crude handling and the cost of crude transportation from the marginal fields owned by Waltersmith, said AbdulRazaq Isa who also explained that the first phase of the project is expected to contribute an estimated 271 million litres of refined products including Diesel, Naphtha, HFO and Kerosene annually to the domestic market.

The project reached FID in September 2018 with an 18-month Delivery time from November 2018 to May 2020, for phase one.

Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited is a wholly owned Nigerian integrated energy company. It is operator of the 7000 bpd Ibigwe field located on the OML 16 in the eastern Niger Delta and is also active in the OML 34 in Niger Delta Western Ltd where it holds a 8.33 percent stake.

Following a competitive bidding process in EGRonda 2019, the company was awarded a 40 percent stake in Block EG-23 earlier this month, allowing it to take operatorship of the asset.

The Block is located in Equatorial Guinea's Niger Delta basin. This acquisition forms part of the company's expansion plan which will see it venture further into Africa as it works to participate in accelerated production and extended value creation.

AfDB's $55m To Jumpstart TZ Private Sector Led Economic Growth

The African Development Bank has approved a $55 million facility to strengthen implementation of reforms to enhance Tanzania's economic competitiveness and private sector participation in the country's growth.

These critical reforms will lead to a more vibrant economy, which will improve the living conditions of Tanzanians, particularly the poor and vulnerable, and including women and youth. 

"Tanzania's private sector is dominated by small enterprises mostly in smallholder agriculture and small informal non-farm businesses," said Abdoulaye Coulibaly, the Bank's Director of Governance and Public Financial Management Department.

"By strengthening the regulatory framework, the country's private sector will have the required incentives to fully participate in the economy, particularly in cross sector growth-enhancing and transformational investment opportunities."

Constraints to doing business in Tanzania include high compliance costs, lengthy pre-approval procedures, multiple and duplicate processes for business registration, loopholes in some laws and regulations applied by regulators during inspections, and high regulatory costs at the national and local levels.

Support from the Bank's African Development Fund will bolster ongoing reforms being undertaken by the government of Tanzania that have been identified as critical for the participation of local and foreign investors across different sectors of the economy. 

Tanzania's main development challenge has been to make economic growth more inclusive and broad-based – to create employment and equal opportunities across age, geography and gender.

The Bank's support will finance the second phase of the Good Governance and Private Sector Development Program (GGPSDP) that will help close the 2019/20 financing gap and make key government agencies more effective.

GGPSDP II will build on strong results from GGPSDP I and support ongoing efforts to reduce the cost of doing business, reduce fees on permits, licenses and registration certificates in key institutions (Prior action), phase rollout of the online Business Registration and Licensing Agency registration portal (BRELA).

The reform program aligns with Tanzania's Vision 2025 and its second five-year development plan (2016/17 – 2020/21). It is also consistent with pillar II of the Tanzania Country Strategy Paper (2016-2020) - Strengthening Governance and Accountability, as well as two African Development Bank High5 Priorities: Industrialize Africa and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.

ADF-15 Replenishment: Donors Commit $7.6bn To Support Africa's Fragile Countries

Donors of the African Development Fund (ADF) on Thursday agreed to commit $7.6 billion to speed up growth in Africa's poorest nations and help lift millions out of poverty.

This fifteenth replenishment of the ADF (ADF-15), up 32% from the previous cycle, sends a strong signal of trust in the Fund, which is the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group.

The Fund comprises 32 contributing states and benefits 37 countries – including those experiencing higher growth rates, headed towards new emerging markets, and fragile states needing special support for basic service delivery. The Fund's resources are replenished every three years.

ADF-15 will support Africa's most vulnerable countries by tackling the root causes of fragility, strengthening resilience, and mainstreaming cross-cutting issues. These include gender, climate change, governance, private sector development, and decent job creation.

"What a great pledge we've achieved with your support... Together we've exceeded the target set for this replenishment. What a great and successful replenishment story that is, "said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

Over the past 45 years, the ADF has played an important role in the development journey of African low-income countries.

In just nine years, the ADF has made a difference and positively impacted the lives of millions by:

  • Improving access to electricity for 10.9 million people;
  • Providing agriculture infrastructure and inputs for 90 million people—including 43 million women;
  • Improving access to markets and connections between countries to 66.6 million people;
  • Contributing to the continent's regional integration agenda by rehabilitating more than 2,300 km of cross-border roads;
  • Improving access to water and sanitation for 35.8 million people.

ADF-15 covers the period 2020-2022 and will build on successes of the fourteenth replenishment by being more selective and focused.

ADF-15 will focus on two Strategic Pillars: quality and sustainable infrastructure aimed at strengthening regional integration; and human governance and institutional capacity development for increased decent job creation and inclusive growth.

In pursuing these strategic priorities, ADF-15 will pay special attention to gender equality, climate change, private sector, and good governance promotion.

In his closing remarks, Patrick Dlamini CEO of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, DBSA, who spoke on behalf of South Africa's Finance minister Tito Mboweni, said the deliberations and outcome demonstrated the confidence member countries place in the African Development Bank Group as "the cornerstone institution underpinning African development."

"There is no better vehicle than the ADF," he said. "Going forward, an ambitious programme of development lies ahead."

ADF-15 will address root causes of vulnerability by systematically applying a fragility lens in all its operations. This will be specifically targeted at regions such as the Sahel, which will see a 23% increase in resources from the ADF over the next period.

ADF-15 comes at a time of tremendous opportunities and challenges for ADF countries and the world.

During the next three years, the Fund will scale up its interventions with bold and profoundly transformative projects such as Desert to Power stretching across the Sahel region. This flagship programme, aims at transforming the Sahel into the world's largest solar production zone with up to 10,000 MW of solar generation capacity and 250 million people connected to electricity.

As part of the initiative, the Yeleen Rural Electrification Project in Burkina Faso is set to provide access to electricity to 150,000 households, while the Djermaya Project in Chad will generate 10% of Chad's power capacity. 

"You will see a new spring in our step...we will be bold and decisive. We will stretch ourselves, and we will do more with your support," Adesina said.

Energy Chamber Calls For Fiscal Reforms, Incentives To Encourage Exploration

In its latest African Energy Outlook 2020, the African Energy Chamber calls for sustained fiscal reforms to attract capital and technology into exploration in the continent.

In 2020, hundreds of blocks and acreages will be up for grab across Africa, from Senegal to Nigeria to Somalia. The competition will be fierce to attract capital from a diversifying basket of explorers now coming from North America, Europe, Russia, China, India, South East Asia and the Middle East.

In 2019, several African countries revised their legal and fiscal framework to incentivize exploration, as new world-class discoveries were yet again made on the continent. With the signing of no less than 9 PSCs in 2019 following the passing of its brand new Hydrocarbons Code, Gabon has shown that investors are ready to keep betting on Africa providing that the right legislation and framework are put in place.

In its Energy Outlook 2020, the Chamber notably stresses investors’ concerns over uncertain fiscal terms in sub-Saharan Africa and calls on governments to find better ways to reconcile their expectations of short-term tax gains with the need for sustainable and long-term investment in exploration.

The importance of increasing exploration efforts cannot be under-estimated in Africa. The continent is the world’s hottest exploration frontier, with several discoveries made over the past few years. The world’s largest discovery this year was made off the coast of Mauritania by Kosmos Energy. It adds up to other large discoveries made this year by Noble Energy in Equatorial Guinea, or the Springfield Group in Ghana for instance.

“2020 needs to be a drilling year,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “Africa has the highest exploration success rates in the world.

In basins like the MSGBC, international explorers like Kosmos Energy have even had a 100 percent success rate from all their exploratory drilling,” he added.

“It is up to African governments and legislators to provide the right framework to keep attracting these kind of players ready to take risks and bet on our continent’s potential.” Promoting and supporting exploration efforts across the continent is a key goal of the Chamber in 2020, as stated in its latest outlook for the sector.

Market Cooperation Will Unlock Opportunities In Africa's Energy Sector

Africa's energy sector is a catalyst for growth and development across the continent. Industry and investors need to stay abreast of the high-speed advances in the energy landscape.

Last week, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) launched its first annual African Energy Outlook for 2020. The report, compiled to provide key insight on what sub-Saharan Africa's oil and gas industry can expect to see next year, also doubles as an overview of the role the energy sector stands to play in developing competing economies.

Though the continent's oil and gas sector was significantly impacted by the oil price crash, 2019 has proven to be a year of recovery for many African economies. With many continuing works on projects that were previously halted or canceled, some developing new large-scale projects and others working to increase their exploration and production activities; the continent is undoubtedly poised to see accelerated growth in the years to come.

To this, in the African Energy Outlook 2020, the AEC showcases key economies and projects that are set to transform the energy landscape, placing the sector at the center of economic growth. In outlining major projects and economies to look out for in 2020, the Outlook features highlights on announce oil projects in Angola, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria as well as announced gas projects in Mauritania, Congo Republic, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Cameroon.

In unlocking the next phase of transformation for the sector, the report insists the market access and intra-Africa cooperation will be critical, particularly in oil and gas pipeline and infrastructure projects.

"Market access is increasingly on the agenda of existing and upcoming African producers of oil and gas, with several cross-country oil and natural gas pipelines in the works to unlock billions of dollars," it says. Noting that, "Lessons have to be learned on how to negotiate transnational infrastructure deals and 2020 will show if African nations have learned how to cooperate better for the benefit of all."

"Next year, we need to see continued progress. We all understand what we have on our hands, now we must build environments that will not only attract investors but keep them for the long-term," said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy chamber. "That is going to be our main challenge, ensuring policy certainty, political stability, favourable environments and matching returns."

Gas Exporting Countries Launch Declaration Of Malabo To Oversee Sustainable Energy Transition

The official Declaration of Malabo was submitted on Friday as the result of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) 5th Heads of State Summit that sat between 26-29 November in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The Declaration outlines the way in which GECF member countries can cooperate to secure a long-term and sustainable energy transition.

Drafted during a week of Ministerial and High-Level Ad Hoc Working Group meetings, the document reaffirms the importance of retaining sovereign rights of member countries over natural gas resources; securing an energy transition and meeting sustainable development goals; attracting investment to gas infrastructure projects; fostering coordination among GECF member countries; and establishing pricing mechanisms, among other key objectives.

“One of the positions of the GECF is to specifically designate the terms and conditions of the contracts between producers and consumers. Our community insists that pricing connected to oil indexation should serve in favor of our member countries,” said H.E. Yury Sentyurin, Secretary General of the GECF. “Producers need to have a reliable flow of revenue to be able to ensure investment. With the connection between pricing and indexation, we try to ensure comfortable conditions for producers to ensure that their projects are implemented.”

The 5th Heads of State Summit represents the first time that the event was held on the African continent, reflecting increased efforts to attract African gas-producing countries to the organization.

“Mozambique and Tanzania have had huge gas discoveries…So many African countries have their own resources and they need to learn to manage them by themselves,” said H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons for Equatorial Guinea. “The objective of this summit is to attract more African countries. This increases our numbers. The future is gas.”

The Declaration of Malabo builds on the existing frameworks for cooperation outlined by the declarations of GECF Summits held in Doha, Qatar (2011), Moscow, Russia (2013), Tehran, Iran (2015) and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia (2017).

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