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Africa nations to plough $2b into joint oil, gas investment

By Akon Etumukwa

Oil-producing nations in Africa are proposing the expansion of a financing agency called Africa Energy Investment Corporation to fund collaborative effort towards providing oil and gas infrastructure in the continent.

Speaking at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said “the whole idea is to mobilise between $1 billion and $2 billion of resources to fund all the essentials necessary for us to properly collaborate.”

Kachikwu, who doubles as the President of African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), disclosed that APPO had signed resolutions that endorsed all the changes that stakeholders suggested and were moving toward implementation stages.

He said “we are presently looking at expanding the role of a particular financing body we are going to be calling the African Energy Investment Corporation. Today, most African countries are silos, everybody does their own thing; you build your own refineries, plants, gas turbines etc.

“If we could just cross the Rubicon and be able to extend hands of infrastructural relationship across Africa; build joint pipeline, plants and refineries; begin to protect the African market, we would have taken a huge step, not only in the development of Africa, but to the stabilisation of independent countries.”

On domestic skilled manpower, the minister said over 90 per cent of the oil major workforce in Nigeria were Nigerian citizens, adding that some of the best skill sets were in the country.

“One of the things I find going into the NNPC in 2015, was that every detail of capability that you need to run a global company sat in NNPC.  They are very trained, very well exposed. We have issues in terms of policies, but in terms of skill sets, we are solid.

“We are hoping that with the collaborative spirit we are beginning to build, we would be able to export some of these to Africa; sit down with some of those countries coming into oil production for the first time; get some of our local participants and investors to begin to get into those countries and begin to take opportunities of what their blocks offer,” he said.

Earlier, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, called for collaboration among African countries in the area of oil and gas infrastructure in order to remain competitive on the global stage.

Baru said cross-national collaboration among oil producing countries in Africa was essential to convert the challenges in the oil and gas sectors of individual countries to opportunities for the economic growth.

He listed other areas of possible collaboration to include legal and regulatory framework, noting that synergy in these areas could enhance the abundant opportunities inherent in the new oil and gas discoveries across many countries in Africa.

The GMD cited the proposed Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline as an example of the type of infrastructural collaboration needed across, disclosed that the project would traverse at least fifteen (15) West-African countries with intake and offtake points in the various countries before it links with the existing Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline in northern Morocco.

“The feasibility study has been concluded and the pre-FEED (Front End Engineering Design) optimisation study is currently ongoing. While this pipeline will help in electrification and industrialisation of these countries, it will also meet the needs of European consumers for heating”, he said.

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