The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari has projected that energy demand in Nigeria and other African countries would increase by between 30 to 35 per cent in the next 20 years.
Kyari also called for strong collaboration amongst oil and gas producing countries in the continent in order to share knowledge and help each other in critical areas, including technology, exploration and production, research and development, technical expertise and human capacity development to spread the wealth within the continent.
The NNPC GCEO stated this in Lagos, yesterday, while delivering the host country’s industry address at the ongoing seventh edition of Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC) organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN).
The theme of the conference was, “Harnessing a Sustainable African Energy Industry through Partnerships.”
Kyari, who was represented at the event by the Executive Vice President, Upstream, NNPC, Mr. Adokiye Tombomieye, said the projected increase in the continent’s energy demand would in turn support the projected increase in Africa’s population and industrialisation.
He noted that the conference came at a time when the Nigerian oil and gas industry was experiencing significant transformation, following the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA 2021).
He maintained that the need for partnership was more reinforced as more African countries continue to make hydrocarbon discoveries.
“We should collaborate and share knowledge and help each other in critical areas, including technology, exploration and production, research and development, technical expertise and human capacity development to spread the wealth within the continent.
“This would in no small measure assist in achieving energy independence and also aid the transition to cleaner energy sources such as gas to sustain the region.
“This presents an enormous opportunity for us to form partnerships across the continent and build a sustainable future,” Kyari said.
The GCEO said the PIA had provided role clarity in governance, rule-based administration, attractive and flexible fiscal terms and direct benefits for the host communities.
All these, he said, were targeted at creating enablers for investor confidence in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, where ample opportunities exist.
Kyari stated, “Ironically, our restructuring is happening at a time when the Energy transition discussion is gaining momentum, and major fund providers for petroleum upstream investment are now activists and anti-fossil fuel.
“As I have always canvassed, decreasing investments in hydrocarbon ventures cannot guarantee global energy security in the near future.
“Rather, an inclusive policy that guarantees access to finance and low-carbon technologies are key to sustaining global energy security and equitable growth.”
He added that Nigeria needed to capitalise on the advancements made in the industry to meet its energy demand, being geographically situated in the sub-African region and as a leader in the oil and gas industry in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kyari said the country also needed to guarantee energy supply, expand its economies and overall, build a sustainable future for millions of people beyond its shores.
The GCEO explained, “At NNPC Limited, we understand the importance of partnerships in achieving a sustainable energy industry in Africa.
“This is why we have been working closely with countries, companies and other stakeholders to develop innovative solutions that meet the energy needs of the continent.
“We must acknowledge that this new era of automation and artificial intelligence is focused on the application of cutting-edge technologies.
“Such as the use of robotic drilling systems for unmanned operations, the deployment of cognitive computing in upstream operations, super specialised sensors for real-time monitoring and maximisation of reservoir yields.”
In his welcome remarks, Chairman of PETAN, Mr. Nicolas Odinuwe, said energy was core to the economies of 55-member states that constitute Africa.
As part of the ways to harness and sustain the continent’s energy market, he pointed out that PETAN has continued to reach out to other regions and bodies for partnerships, collaboration and support.
“This includes an African local content business e-platform, a one-stop collation of available opportunities, capacities and capabilities within the Sub-Sahara. It is currently being developed by the local content associations and will be launched by third quarter 2023.
“It is integrated one-skill passport for welding and related practices with TWF, African local content funding (coordinated by NCDMB).
“PETAN Seal of Quality (PSQ) launched few years ago is being expanded to be industry inclusive in partnership with NCDMB and relevant stakeholders. Our collaborations have also extended to Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana, Angola, Guyana etc”, Odinuwe stated.
With the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA), Odinuwe urged the African Union to consider a unified or integrated African certification and standard as practiced in America, European Union, Britain and others.
“We should seriously consider eliminating multiple certifications domiciled outside our sphere and the associated huge foreign exchange impact.
“These institutions outside Africa is supported by their governments have made respective standardisation agencies confined to just names. The TWF personnel certifications/skill passport is a step in the right direction,” he added.
Stressing that human capacity development was very fundamental in the growth of any economy and local content, he added that as technology was evolving, it was important to constantly acquire new knowledge and skills through training and retraining.
Also in his presentation, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote, opined that AfCFTA presents a critical framework that could be leveraged to achieve a collaborative local content strategy in Africa.
Wabote, who spoke on the topic, “Sub-Saharan Africa Local Content Collaboration Strategies,” stressed that the main objectives of the continental trade deal were to explore ways to break trade barriers, promote cross-border collaboration amongst governments and businesses, provide peer review mechanisms, and share experiences and ideas on industry sustainability and growth.
He said for the initiative to work, there was need to address legal framework, funding, infrastructure, human capacity development, and research and development.
According to him, the advent of AfCFTA created the world’s largest free trade area by integrating 1.3 billion people across 54 African countries, with the objective of tapping into a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over $3 trillion.
This, he observed, was indeed a very huge collaboration platform that would present tremendous gains to the entire African continent, adding that it was in recognition of the enormous opportunities that AfCFTA presents that Nigeria has started working towards unleashing the collaboration potentials.
He said the Dangote Integrated Refinery and Petrochemical Company, with an installed capacity of 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) which was expected to come on stream within the year, would afford Nigeria and other African countries the partnership opportunities for sourcing petroleum products and fertilizer.
He, however, noted that Africa’s energy sector has its inherent challenges just like any other region, saying there was to for all to come together and focus on research and development, with the intention of taking a critical look at the challenges and coming up with economical home-grown solutions that would address those challenges in a sustainable manner.
Adding that such solutions could even be exported to other parts of the world, he said those collaboration strategies were underpinned by the fact that the continent of Africa was blessed with enormous human and natural resources, which together make the continent a preferred destination for investors.
Wabote said, “The African continent currently holds seven per cent and 13 per cent of the world’s proven crude oil and gas reserves, respectively, which underscores the fact that Africa stands to play a major role as the world seek energy security and stability.
“With crude oil reserves exceeding 125 billion barrels and gas reserves of more than 500 trillion cubic feet, there is still a lot of refining potential that remains untapped as the combined crude oil refining capacity in Africa is currently about 1.7 million barrels/day for a continent that requires refining capacity of at least 10 million barrels/day.
“At the sub-surface level, there are immense collaboration opportunities in exchange of data in respect of geological formation spanning across several countries.”
Wabote noted that some of the partnerships had resulted in the creation of Joint Development Zones amongst countries in the regions.