The African Petroleum Producers Organisation(APPO) says it has committed five billion dollars to the establishment of an African Energy Bank (AEB), to develop oil and gas assets across oil producing member countries.
Dr Omar Ibrahim, the Secretary-General of APPO, said that the bank would be established in collaboration with Afreximbank.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ibrahim disclosed this at a news conference held on the sidelines of the ongoing 24th World Petroleum Congress(WPC) on Monday in Calgary, Canada.
He explained that the establishment of the bank would address the funding challenge often associated with oil and gas projects.
According to him, the AEB has the objective to close the gap resulting from the decision of Western financiers to discontinue funding the industry, especially in Africa.
Ibrahim said the bank would assist investors, who believe that Africa needed to use all forms of available energy for the fore-seeable future, to eliminate the huge poverty in the continent.
He, however, said that the bank would also look into other energies.
On strategies to address the technology and expertise challenge, Ibrahim said a team from the Secretariat undertook an assessment tour with a view to establishing the professional level of these institutions.
According to him, the tour was based on oil and gas research, development, innovation and training institutions in APPO member countries.
‘‘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 and well as middle level personnel.
“For the highly skilled sectors, we plan to have regional centers 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,” he said.
Ibrahim also said that Nigeria would be hosting the second Africa Roundtable on Local Content in October, while Angola had indicated interest for the next in the first quarter of 2024.
“In pursuing this objective, we believe that partnership with players from the technologically 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,” he added.
Ibrahim hinted that APPO was currently addressing the challenge of markets and energy infrastructure.
He explained that the organisation was working on producing a blue print for the integration of the African continent through the stablishment of cross border energy infrastructure.
Regrettably, he said most of the energy infrastructure that exist on the continent, today, were established to serve extra-Africa interests.
‘’That is why our pipelines run from the fields to the sea ports for export.
“The time has come for us to route these pipelines from areas of plenty to areas of need within Africa.
‘‘For too long, we have been told that Africans do not have purchasing power, so our energy needs external markets.
“But we all know that energy is the biggest catalyst to economic development.
“So, if the people cannot access energy because they do not have the purchasing power, when will they ever get out of poverty?
He maintained that APPO believes that that poverty cycle might not be broken if the industry continued
believing on the received wisdom.
“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.
The APPO scribe said that one of the first assignments given to the APPO Secretariat after the reform was to conduct a study on the future of the oil and gas industry in Africa in the light of the energy transition.
According to him, the findings of the study have continued to shape APPO’s strategy.
The study, he said, found out that the global pursuit of energy transition pose four imminent challenges to African oil and gas producing and dependent countries.
“These imminent challenges are; funding, technology and expertise challenge, markets and energy infrastructure challenge.“