- Calls for monetizing natural gas dominated the just concluded Africa Energy Week 2021 in South Africa.
- AEW 2021 is committed to driving energy sector growth as well as the transition to cleaner sources of fuel.
The African Energy Week 2021 emphasized the role of natural gas in Africa and provided African stakeholders with the opportunity to not only engage in but drove the conversation on natural gas in Africa’s energy future.
Investors and leaders drawn from different parts of the continent campaigned for this noble venture to the respective countries saying that Africa’s natural gas resources potentially can accelerate socio-economic growth and eradicate energy poverty.
Accordingly, many nations are seeking enhanced investment to maximize and monetize resources. As the continent’s premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, aims to build on this momentum, promoting innovative strategies to monetization, addressing challenges hindering development, and charting a way forward for the African gas sector.
Speaking at the investor forum under the theme ‘Monetizing Natural Gas: Current Opportunities and Challenges,’ panel participants investigated Africa’s natural gas landscape.
Among the participants included Mamadou Goumble, CEO Energy Business, JCG; Frank Fannon, Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources; Olakunle Williams, CEO, QSL; Dr. Tshepo Mokoka, COO, CEF; Gabriel Lorenzi, VP of Sales, Galileo Technologies; and Taiwo Okwor; Vice President, Investments, African Finance Corporation.
During the discussion, participants provided insight into how African gas projects can be made more bankable and attractive for international investors.
With the continent aggressively pursuing the development of its natural gas resources to ensure sustainable socio-economic growth, Africa’s gas has garnered significant regional and international attention.
For Africa to develop and grow its natural gas it has to consider Financing and technology, this is according to Dr, Mokoka who says that Africa needs to find various ways of financing development.
“You need to find better ways of opening up the space. If we depend more on FDI, we rely on Ministers in Europe,” stated Dr. Mokoka at the panelist roundtable.
On the other hand, Taiwo Okwor the Vice President, Investments, African Finance Corporation says achieving this requires one to take the risk and reward adding that Some of the key things were around the regulatory framework and lack of credibility, of which one of the key points is transparency.
He says with ample gas reserves and uninterrupted supply it is possible for Africa to have this course successfully. This he says is only possible when there is a realistic approach in planning infrastructure assets.
“If you want to develop your natural gas you need to think about transmission aspects and distributions aspects to both the domestic and international market. If you can address these, you will see a lot more international and local investors,” stated Okwor.
Meanwhile, the panel discussed actionable strategies to enhance investor interest in gas infrastructure projects across Africa.
With the African Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) providing new and improved trade opportunities for stakeholders within the energy industry, the panel promoted intra-African gas markets, made possible through enhanced infrastructure developments.
The AfCFTA is a wonderful opportunity for everyone in Africa as it has opened up the market. Already the testament of the AfCFTA is already being shown.
Frank Fannon, the former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources in his opinion said that monetizing natural gas was like an execution issue but how the government and individuals are going to execute it is the big problem.
He adds that with good energy trade relationships, it is viably possible as it creates a halo effect of stability, economic integration, and cooperation.
Africa’s significant resources and emerging project developments will not only create opportunities for African countries but offer the chance for Africa to assist Europe with its current gas crisis. With existing pipeline infrastructure in place already supplying Europe.
“In Africa, we have two kinds of countries, those with gas and those without. Those with gas are left with the question of how to use it. By using gas throughout the region, it will be able to help us tap into global markets. Let us get the foundation sorted to be able to have a suitable market before we manage to export,” said Mamadou Goumble, the CEO of Energy Business.
Meanwhile, with significant resources across the continent awaiting exploitation and development, Africa has the potential to establish energy security and independence for years to come, reducing the continent’s reliance on foreign aid and accelerating socio-economic growth.