The African Energy Chamber (AEC), based in South Africa, has started the second edition of the African Energy Week, which is considered to be one of the world’s largest and most continental energy gatherings. It will take place in Cape Town from October 18–21. The African Energy Week primarily aims at discussing all aspects of exploration, collaboration, and utilization of Africa’s energy resources in scaling up energy security, drastically reducing energy imports and its role in driving socioeconomic growth in Africa.
It will also work with global players, foreign investors, and governments to build energy infrastructure and find ways to make money from energy. Africa’s biggest gathering of energy ministers, energy policymakers, companies, and investors—will therefore be crucial for shaping discussions to find a pragmatic approach around the key role the continent’s massive yet largely unexplored hydrocarbon resources play in making energy poverty history while triggering newfound socioeconomic growth.
In partnership with leading renewable energy companies, the four days of networking and serious discussions around the energy renewable sector have become extremely crucial for Africa. Over 800 million people on the African continent don’t have enough money for energy, and 900 million don’t have access to clean ways to cook. This has made it more important to speed up the deployment and use of the continent’s natural gas, solar, wind, hydropower, and green hydrogen resources.
The African Energy Chamber’s special report titled “State of African Energy Q2 2022 Report” will be presented during the conference. According to the report seen by this author, increasing energy, including oil and gas activity, and a record number of new discoveries, have set the stage for significant industry growth in the second half of 2022.
According to the report, increasing oil and gas activity and a record number of new discoveries have set the stage for significant industry growth in the second half of 2022. The future depends on sustaining the longevity of the industry. The report outlines an unprecedented level of new oil and gas discoveries on the African continent. The simple, staggering fact that more than half of sub-Saharan Africans lack access to electricity means prioritization must continue to end energy poverty. Africa’s population is expected to reach more than 2 billion by 2040. By 2030, power generation will need to be doubled, and by 2050, it will need to be increased by a factor of five.
Do you want to find out more about Africa’s exploration potential? Are you interested in connecting with exploration and production (E&P) companies that are active across the continent? To meet demand in Africa, there needs to be more exploration, faster development of oil and gas reserves, and better exploitation. Africa’s energy sector has a bright future thanks to companies like TotalEnergies, Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Africa Oil Corp, Kosmos Energy, Marathon Oil, CNPC, CNOOC, and many more.
Investors play a unique role in Africa’s sustainable development by looking into the pros and cons of these exploration campaigns. This is because Africa has about 40 billion barrels of undeveloped oil and gas reserves in the energy industry. According to the World Bank, Russia also holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves, the second-largest coal reserves, and the eighth-largest oil reserves. The Russia-Ukraine crisis and Russia’s leading energy supplier redirecting its search for markets in the Asian region have brought good opportunities for new partners for Africa.
Over the past few years since the Soviet collapse, Russia has expressed a heightened interest in exploring and producing oil and gas in Africa. Emboldened African leaders and industry executives have accepted proposals and signed several agreements with Russian companies, but little has been achieved in the sector. With geopolitical conditions that change quickly and an economy that is split up and full of competition and rivalry, African leaders need to know that Russia might not invest much in the oil and gas industry, not even in the infrastructure that this industry needs.
During an interview in June 2021 with NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, a pan-African company that does research, documentation, negotiations, and transactions in the energy sector, he said that Africa’s production capacity needs to be scaled up as soon as possible so that everyone has access to energy. He also talked about the difficult tasks and emphasized the need for a transformative partnership-based strategy (which needs transparency, good governance, and policies that could create a good environment for investment) that aims to give more people in Africa access to energy.
Natural gas is cheap and easy to find in Africa. It has the potential to create a lot of jobs, build people’s skills, make the economy more diverse, and help it grow. African economies can only grow in a way that is sustainable if the local industry grows. This means investing in Africans, helping Africans become entrepreneurs, and supporting the creation of African companies. It requires cooperative efforts by Africans.
Can there be a unified approach to collaborating on issues of energy projects in Africa? NJ Ayuk observes that Africa has already made an indelible mark in the oil and gas industry. Africans must therefore become more accountable and plan better in the energy sector. Some potential external investors, such as Russia, have for many decades shown interest in this sector but have not delivered promptly on their promises and signed agreements.
Some experts believe that Europe can look to Africa as a preferred energy supplier. Africa is ready to welcome investors currently pulling out of Russia if they can genuinely invest in developing oil and gas infrastructure, which Africa seriously lacks in this industry. For Africa at this point in time, that’s a real opportunity, and understandably, Russia aspires to be the leading supplier in the global market and therefore seeks to marginalize potential producers such as Africa. In practical terms, it is very cautious to make financial commitments in Africa.
“The demand for oil and gas from Africa is on the rise, especially as we expect domestic usage to rise significantly, driven by a growing population and corresponding economic activity. “It is therefore key for countries across the continent to leverage existing oil and gas infrastructure to fast-track the development of assets that would otherwise have been stranded,” said Verner Ayukegba, Senior Vice President of the African Energy Chamber. “We are delighted to continue working with interested investors and researchers to bring forward vital data that allows decision makers to drive investments in Africa’s energy sector, which ultimately will lead to ending energy poverty in Africa by 2030.”
According to Ayukegba, the African Energy Chamber continues to investigate how the accelerated investment and development of Africa’s infrastructure landscape will be key to ensuring oil and gas discoveries translate into long-term development. Currently, there exists an infrastructure gap across the continent, a gap that significantly impacts exploration initiatives, bringing newfound challenges to project take-off and completion. So, during the panel, speakers will talk about this gap and make a strong case for other solutions that are backed by experts.
If Africa is to make energy history in Africa by 2030, the continent needs to maximize the utilization of all available resources. As a result, African countries with energy resources could change the way energy is used on the continent. This is especially true now when the world is going through changes, especially big changes that will set up a multipolar system. Still, Africa needs to improve its energy security and keep working toward energy self-sufficiency within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Kestér Kenn Klomegâh is the Regional Bureau Correspondent at African Press Agency