According to the World Bank, Russia holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves. Over the past years, Russia has expressed heightened interest in exploring and producing oil and gas in Africa.
Emboldened African leaders and industry executives have accepted proposals, several agreements and whatever were signed with Russian companies, but little have been achieved in the sector. With the rapidly changing geopolitical conditions and economic fragmentation fraught with competition and rivarly, African leaders have to understand that Russia might not heavily invest in the oil and gas sector, not even in the needed infrastructure in this industry. From our monitoring, research and several interviews with experts especially inside Africa, we can conclude that the Russia-Ukraine crisis has brought into its fold good opportunities. Russia is energy self-sufficient. It does not need to import energy from Africa, it can only act as a fortified gatekeeper. It has done this several years, primarily to ensure, to a considerable extent, control of Africa’s energy from entering the global market. Popular opinion now is that potential African producers can take advantage to attract investments required to build infrastructure that would enable them to expand exploration, production and exportation to meet the anticipated increase in demand in Europe.
Russia’s interests about possible participation in the oil and gas related projects is perceived by some experts as a bid to either sabotage or control the flow of oil and gas from Africa into Europe. Several experts have written about the implications of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and its meaning for Africa. The crisis casts a long shadow across Africa. There is need to forge a pan-African solidarity and adherence to working towards developing the continent’s natural resources. If this is not done, Africa will continue importing oil and gas. During June 2021 interview discussions with NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, a pan-African company that focuses on research, documentation, negotiations and transactions in the energy sector, he expressed the urgent necessity for scaling up Africa’s production capacity in order to achieve universal access to energy. He further noted the challenging tasks and pointed strongly to the need for a transformative partnership-based strategy, (that requires transparency, good governance and policies that could create a favourable investment climate) and that aims at increasing access to energy for all Africans. Natural gas, affordable and abundant in Africa, has the power to spark significant job creation and capacity-building opportunities, economic diversification and growth. Sustainable development of African economies can only be attained by the development of local industry – by investing in Africans, building up African entrepreneurs and supporting the creation of indigenous 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 sectors. Some potential external investors, like Russia, have for many decades shown interest in this sector but have not operationalized their agreements and promises.
Approximately 840 million Africans, mostly in sub-Saharan countries, have no access to electricity. Hundreds of millions have unreliable or limited power at best. Even during normal circumstances, energy poverty should not be the reality for most Africans. The popular narratives about the prevalence of energy poverty on the continent has to change. We need good governance that creates an enabling environment for widespread economic growth and improved infrastructure. African leaders need an unwavering determination to make Africa work for us, even when there are missteps and things go wrong. The African Energy Chamber is raising A Banner for African Oil & Gas. It plans to hold Oil and Gas conference this October. As part of the conference, its 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 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. In Namibia alone, for example, two breakthrough discoveries, Shell’s Graff and Total Energies’ Venus-1X, have opened frontier oil play onshore. Industry experts estimate that Venus-1X may hold recoverable resources of some 3 billion barrels of recoverable oil, making it Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest-ever oil discovery. Namibia, in fact, has led the way in new oil and gas activity this year and is emerging as an exploration hot spot. In northeast Namibia and northwest Botswana, ReconAfrica has licensed operations for the newly discovered 8.5-million-acre Kavango Basin, one of the world’s largest onshore undeveloped basins.
This is great news for our industry, which was hit especially hard by Covid-19 and has struggled to regain momentum. The energy sector was crippled by historically low volumes in 2020 and 2021, creating an even more critical need for new exploration. And Namibia is just one example of the new discoveries being made all over Africa. The Q2 2022 report outlines a number of new developments across the continent. Eni discovered the Baleine field in Cote d’Ivoire last year, which contains as many as 2 billion barrels of recoverable oil and nearly 2 Tcf of gas offshore. This is a big deal for Côte d’Ivoire, which up until now has been producing about 34,000 barrels of crude per day from four blocks. In Angola, TotalEnergies is drilling for the first time since 2018 and has executed a sale and purchase agreement with state-owned Sonangol for two blocks in the Kwanza Basin offshore. Other majors, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Eni, are active in Angola as well. More than a dozen high-impact wells are predicted in the next 18 months in Libya, Ghana, Mozambique, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Egypt, and others. Egypt alone has awarded eight oil and gas exploration blocks to Eni, BP, Apex International, Energean, United Energy, Enap Sipetrol, and INA. And after long delays because of Covid-19, licensing rounds are planned, open, or under evaluation in more than a dozen countries including Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Gabon, and Congo. The results are expected to be announced this year. Higher greenfield spending is also forecast as more projects get the green light. In Kenya, for example, large investments are expected in the greenfield onshore development of Tullow’s South Lokichar basin, Turkana County. At an estimated 585 billion barrels, this is widely considered one of the last big conventional onshore projects in the world.
Source: This news is originally published by africa