The African Energy Chamber (AEC) (https://EnergyChamber.org) strongly supports the development of oil and gas in Africa and remains committed to facilitating deals between African and global players. Under efforts to strengthen multilateral partnerships and bolster oil and gas deals, the AEC’s Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk is currently conducting a working visit to Guyana, participating in the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2023. Ayuk is speaking on a panel titled, ‘Opportunities in the Oil and Gas Sector.’
Burgeoning African oil producers stand to learn a great deal from Guyana, a country which prioritized a fast-tracked approach to developing recent oil and gas discoveries. Since 2015, more than 30 offshore oil discoveries were made in Guyana, with over 11 billion barrels of recoverable reserves identified. In five short years since the company’s discovery, project developer ExxonMobil started producing oil from the Stabroek Block, discovered in 2015. A strong pipeline of other projects came online shortly afterwards, with support from the Government of Guyana serving as a catalyst for development.
This fast-tracked approach to not only discovering but developing oil is both commendable and replicable. By streamlining regulatory processes, introducing attractive fiscal terms and engaging with private players to develop projects quickly, the Government of Guyana has prioritized economic growth and progress. For countries in Africa making their own offshore finds, this approach is highly strategic. Namibia, for example, which made five major discoveries in less than two years, serves to learn a great deal from its Caribbean neighbor. The country is situated in southern Africa, a region with an energy crisis that has long-impacted economic development. With billions of barrels worth of oil likely to be contained in the country’s offshore basins, a fast-tracked approach to development is critical, not only for the country but the region at large.
The same can be said for Namibia’s neighbor South Africa. Faced with environmental opposition across the upstream oil and gas industry, major finds made such as Luiperd and Brulpadda are yet to be developed. Regulatory delays and lack of investment further restrict progress. Unless the country adopts an aggressive approach to developing offshore resources, critical energy will remain undeveloped.
However, Africa’s offshore development is not only a picture of potential. Countries such as Senegal and Mauritania have seen substantial success in recent years, with the removal of red tape, streamlining of regulatory processes and aggressive approach to signing deals driving a number of impactful projects. Senegal’s 100,000 barrel per day Sangomar oilfield development is set to come online in 2024 alongside the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project. Exploration has accelerated regionally but deals are still awaiting signatures.
During Ayuk’s visit to Guyana, this very topic is a central point of discussion. Ayuk’s call for a ‘sign baby sign’ mindset in Africa’s oil and gas sector serves as a rallying cry for expediting critical energy projects. This mindset emphasizes the importance of swift decision-making and the elimination of bureaucratic hurdles that often hinder progress. By streamlining processes and expediting approvals, Ayuk advocates for a more agile and responsive industry, poised to capitalize on opportunities and navigate challenges with efficiency.
One of the AEC’s key messages is the imperative need to cut through bureaucratic red tape. Cumbersome regulatory processes and administrative delays can stifle investment and impede the timely execution of critical projects. By streamlining regulations and ensuring transparency, the AEC envisions a more investor-friendly environment that not only attracts capital but also accelerates project implementation.
Across Africa, Governments are urged to shed their hesitancy and embrace a forward-looking approach to energy development. By adopting policies that promote investment, leaning on partnerships with counterparts such as Guyana and signing deals quickly, African countries can unlock their full energy potential and, in turn, drive economic prosperity.