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Lack of market may stall Africa’s 125 billion barrels oil reserves

By Kingsley Jeremiah, Abuja
25 January 2023   |   4:02 am
Africa’s 125 billion barrels and over 630 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas reserves may remain in the ground unless the continent creates a local market for its hydrocarbon resources, stakeholders said, yesterday, in Abuja.

[FILES] Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Marlin Sylva. twitter/HETimipreSylva.

•Sylva rallies support for proposed African Energy Bank
Africa’s 125 billion barrels and over 630 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas reserves may remain in the ground unless the continent creates a local market for its hydrocarbon resources, stakeholders said, yesterday, in Abuja.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva and the current President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who is equally Equatorial Guinea Minister of Hydrocarbon, Gabriel Obiang Lima, expressed worry over the fate of Africa’s hydrocarbon resources amid energy transition and climate actions.

While calling for support for an African Energy Bank, as well as the development of local content across the region, Sylva said the efforts are already being made to create a market for Africa’s oil and gas resources.

Most economies in Africa, especially Nigeria, survive on proceeds from fossil fuels. The campaign against fossil fuels to save the planet has thrown the countries off balance after years of wastage of the earnings from the resource.

Sylva decried the drought in investment into the sector, adding that being the fastest growing population in the world, and an unimaginable prevalent energy poverty level across the continent, Africa’s energy need would continue to grow in leaps and bounds over the foreseeable 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.

Sylva said the on-going move to establish an African Energy Bank is a right move in the right direction.

Lima noted that Africa accounts for the larger proportion of the newly oil producing reserves, stressing that the investment and market for the resource remain sacrosanct.

According to him, Nigeria and other oil producing African countries must collaborate to create a viable market.

He also decried energy poverty on the continent despite the resource, adding that the continent must take energy security seriously amidst growing population.