By Michael Eboh
The Federal Government, Monday, disclosed that it is working with other oil and gas producers in Africa, under the auspices of African Petroleum Producers Organisation, APPO, to raise between $1 billion and $2 billion to finance energy projects and boost collaboration among African countries.
Speaking at the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit, NIPS, in Abuja, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. One Kachikwu, said APPO members were looking at expanding the role of an existing financing body in the continent, which would be renamed African Energy Investment Corporation to undertake the function of energy financing.
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. 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.
“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.
“We have finished that meeting and signed on to resolutions that endorsed all the changes that we have suggested. We are now going to move on the implementation stages.”
Kachikwu further listed challenges to the international oil market to include issues such as shale, oil pricing, investment limitation, and President Trump among others, stating that unless African countries get their policies, market place collaborative mechanisms and infrastructure right, they would face a huge amount of challenge in the competition for the very scarce resources and scarce capital.
Kachikwu further stated Nigeria has one of the best skill sets in the petroleum industry in the world and was looking at leveraging on this advantage to grow the African petroleum industry and promote collaboration.
He said, “Out skill sets is unbelievable. Over 90 per cent of the oil majors’ workforce are Nigerians. This means that some of the best skill sets are here. 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.
“Where better to begin to show skills than here. 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.”
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, warned that if local content is not encouraged in the African petroleum industry, Europe and the rest of the world would in the next 20 years witnessed massive influx of people from Africa and its attendant crisis.
He advised foreign countries to stop accepting jobs meant for African countries and instead encourage the domestication of petroleum jobs in Africa.
On his part, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, said an example of collaboration can be seen in Nigeria’s collaboration with Morocco to construct a gas pipeline that would traverse at least 15 West African countries and connect the existing Europe gas pipeline.
According to him, the feasibility study had been concluded and the pre-Final Investment Decision, FID, greenfield optimisation study was currently ongoing.
He said, “This pipeline will help in the industrialisation of these countries. It will also meet the needs of consumers for heating and other uses. We gas as a fuel to take Africa to the next level. New gas discoveries have been recorded offshore Senegal, Mauritania, Mozambique and are in various stages of development.
“Nigeria is also targeting to take FID on LNG Train 7 this year. So African countries need to collaborate and trade among each other not only in terms of oil and gas but also in other key sectors so that the multiplier effect is seen across our various economies.”