OPEC, ARDA, Consider Strategies to Curb Africa’s Poverty

By Emmanuel Addeh

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA), African Energy Chamber (AEC) and other stakeholders have called for urgent actions that will ensure the development of an inclusive energy transition plan for Africa.

The call was made during a virtual meeting attended by the Secretary General of OPEC, Dr. Sanusi Barkindo, Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Energy of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire, Thomas Camara and others key speakers from various international organisations.

The discussants agreed that Africa must not be rushed to join the global campaign against fossil fuels, stressing that the continent and its key stakeholders must work together to address its energy challenges and design a roadmap against the backdrop of its growing population.

Barkindo, who spoke at the event, stated that while OPEC’s World Oil Outlook projects cumulative oil-related investments of $11.8 trillion till 2045, broken down into $9.2 trillion for upstream, $1.5 trillion for downstream and $1.1 trillion for midstream, under-investment poses challenges that may worsen the global energy crisis.

He warned that future energy and climate roadmaps must reflect the core principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, hinged on equity, historical responsibility and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

Barkindo also said Africa’s oil and gas sector has a bright future with significant opportunities, adding that in 2019, the continent produced approximately 8.5 million barrels per day of oil, and currently has a proven oil reserves amounting to around 126 billion barrels as at the end of 2019.

For the downstream, he stated that Africa’s local refining capacity is expected to increase, with a corresponding reduction in imports, and the continent’s long-term demand growth will lead to about 5 million barrels per day through 2045.

Camara, in his comments, spoke on the reforms of the Ivorian gas market to make butane more affordable, encourage natural gas-powered vehicles, use of natural gas to replace fuel oil for power generation and a new biofuel refinery to produce 3 million litres of biodiesel annually.

While stressing the need to secure the requisite funding to ensure that the energy transition is successful, he noted that part of the financing would be used for upgrading African refineries to decrease the level of pollutants, developing LPG storage facilities, execution of power co-generation projects and construction of pipeline networks to transport cleaner fuels across Africa.

On his part, Executive Secretary of ARDA, Anibor Kragha, said that Africa’s energy transition plans must focus first on cleaner cooking and transport fuels in the near-term to reduce air pollution before embarking on global net zero emissions strategies for which majority of the required technology is still in the development stage.

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