The African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) has pledged a sum of $5bn for the establishment of the African Energy Bank (AEB), with the aim of advancing oil and gas projects across oil-producing member countries.
Dr Omar Ibrahim, the Secretary-General of APPO, announced this in collaboration with Afreximbank during a press conference held on the sidelines of the 24th World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Calgary, Canada, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Dr Ibrahim highlighted that the creation of the bank is intended to address the common funding difficulties encountered in oil and gas ventures.
Specifically, the AEB seeks to bridge the financial gap left by the Western financiers who have reduced their support for the industry, especially in Africa, he explained.
According to Dr Ibrahim, the bank will aid investors who believe that Africa must harness all available energy sources to combat widespread poverty on the continent. He further stated that the AEB will explore alternative energy options.
Addressing technology and expertise challenges
In response to the technology and expertise challenge, Dr Ibrahim revealed that a team from the APPO Secretariat conducted an assessment tour of research, development, innovation, and training institutions for training oil and gas technicians and middle-level personnel.
He also disclosed that for highly specialized sectors. regional centres of excellence will be established within the industry.
- ‘‘We were pleasantly surprised at the level of advancement of many of the institutions visited, in terms of their training programmes, facilities and equipment as well as faculties.
- “We concluded that given the huge financial requirements for establishing high-class oil and gas research and training institutions, APPO member countries need not all establish these institutions.
- “Instead, each country can establish institutions for training oil and gas technicians as well as middle-level personnel.
- “For the highly skilled sectors, we plan to have regional centres of excellence in the various sectors of the industry.
- “In this regard, Sonatrach, the National Oil Company of Algeria hosted the inaugural meeting of Directors of Oil and Gas Research and Training Institutions last June, in Bourmedes, Algeria.”
Dr Ibrahim noted that Nigeria is set to host the second Africa Roundtable on Local Content in October, with Angola expressing interest in hosting the event in the first quarter of 2024.
Pursuing partnerships with technologically advanced countries
He stated that APPO aims to form partnerships with technologically advanced countries to achieve its objectives, and Canada’s oil and gas industry is considered a potential source of technological support.
- In his words, “In pursuing this objective, we believe that partnership with players from the technologically advanced countries will be fruitful.
- “The oil and gas industry in Canada is one place that we believe we can come for technological support.
- “Partnership is critical to our success and we are prepared to partner with all like-minded institutions to pursue our objectives.”
Integration of the African continent through energy infrastructure
Dr Ibrahim mentioned that APPO was currently working on a blueprint for the integration of the African continent through the establishment of cross-border energy infrastructure.
Regrettably, he said that most existing energy infrastructure on the continent was developed to serve external interests, with pipelines typically running from oil fields to seaports for export.
Dr Ibrahim stressed the importance of routing these pipelines to areas within Africa that require energy access. He revealed that APPO’s vision is to provide energy access to the people, not just for lighting homes but also for facilitating cottage industries and driving significant economic growth.
- “Deliberate policies must be created to make our people have access to energy and with that, the poverty cycle shall be broken.
- ‘‘Give the people energy not just to light their homes but to do cottage industries and you will be shocked at the quantum leap in the national Gross Domestic Products,“ he said.
APPO’s strategic direction
He mentioned that one of APPO’s initial tasks after its reform was to conduct a study on the future of the African oil and gas industry in the context of the global energy transition.
According to him, the study’s findings have significantly influenced APPO’s strategic direction, highlighting four imminent challenges: funding, technology and expertise, markets, and energy infrastructure. the findings of the study have continued to shape APPO’s strategy.