Africa, the new Oil&Gas frontier

Africa, the new Oil&Gas frontier

Simona Manna
US Secretary Perry spoke during Africa Oil Week of a Continent where progress and great opportunities can be seen for the energy sector, not only for fossil sources but also for renewable ones. Many ministers then spoke about the future development of their countries

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry was the guest of honor on day two of Africa Oil Week, a key event for the African Oil&Gas sector currently taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. A clear signal, highlighted by Perry himself in several tweets over the last few days, that the United States have a considerable interest in strengthening their relations with African countries. Following a bilateral meeting in the morning with Nigerian Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the US Secretary spoke to the Africa Oil Week audience. He described Africa as a continent in which "we see hope, we see progress", both in a broad sense and in the energy sector and where "today the US sees great opportunities", focusing not only on energy in general but also on green energy: "an "energy revolution" that can become a "clean energy revolution". Perry spoke about energy security, which must "necessarily include national security", about the importance of the future of Africa ("do the next generations a favor") and he ended his speech with a wish: we will be pleased to be a partner in the energy transformation of Africa".

Future investments and prospects for African countries

The day began with a session dedicated to deep water exploration, followed by a debate about fossil fuels between Alex Epstein, who made a name for himself in 2014 with his book "Fossil fuels: the moral case", which promotes the use of fossil fuels, and Charlotte Aubin, CEO of Greenwish Partners Sas, who is totally in favor of renewables. The subsequent ministerial session was entirely dedicated to the subject of how to attract companies and investments to Africa. Each of the guest ministers had ten minutes to explain the reasons why investments should be made in their country. Nigerian Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu explained that investments have increased over the last five years and that they are very important for the growth of the country. Ghanaian Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko spoke about the new challenges: "we have a new production and exploration policy" and "we can create a competitive country". For the Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Development of Renewable Energies of Côte d’Ivoire, Thierry Tanoh, investments should be made in his country because "it is part of a strategic area, with a strong and diversified economy and a strong deep water potential", referring in particular to the Sedimentary Basin. There is also great potential in Namibia, as explained by its Energy Minister Obeth Kandjoze, followed by his counterpart from Mali, Tiemoko Sangaré, who highlighted the country’s oil and gas resources and explained that Mali "has decided to diversify its economy because this has a value". The Oil Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, announced that three important agreements will be finalized by the end of the year.

The day ended with the "IOC’s in Africa: Navigating the future of upstream" session, where the leading oil companies Total, Eni, BP and Shell illustrated explorations and projects in Africa.