The African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 conference and exhibition – organized by the African Energy Chamber (AEC) (http://www.EnergyChamber.org)– was officially opened in Cape Town with remarks by industry leaders and experts. The Kosmos Energy-sponsored opening ceremony featured messages of unity and vision, with keynotes drawing attention to the role collaboration, investment and a just approach to energy developments plays in making energy poverty history by 2030.
Kicking off the ceremony, AEC Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk stated that, “This is bigger than a conference: it is a movement. We are seeing new discoveries in countries no one would have thought: in Namibia, in South Africa and across the continent. That tells you, Africa’s time is now. As we have discussions about the transition, we mustn’t forget that it is about people. Select Africa, choose Africa, invest in Africa. Be bold and don’t back down on this industry.”
Global energy organizations lent their expertise, offering strategic frameworks to accelerate Africa’s energy transition. They advocated for a balanced energy mix, encompassing renewables, natural gas, and innovative technologies, fostering sustainable growth while mitigating environmental impact.
Haitham al Ghais, Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, stated that, “I commend the relevance of the overall theme of this event. It captures many of the key issues of our times. The term renaissance refers to a re-birth. Today, Africa’s people are drawing inspiration for what they want their own futures to look like. Africa’s future looks very bright in this respect.”
Joshua Volz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa, Middle East, Europe&Eurasia at the U.S. Department of Energy, emphasized the value of clean energy. He stated that, “Africa is the future for our energy transition. We acknowledge that the African continent has contributed little to that climate change and are facing the worst impacts from it. With clean energy, we have the solutions that will curb climate change.”
As such, speakers emphasized the central role oil and gas will continue to play in Africa. Rune O. Pedersen, President&CEO, PGS explained that, “Oil and gas will continue to be a critical part of the energy mix for the foreseeable future,” and that, “Timing is indeed of essence but prosperity must be recognized. Africa’s transition must involve a phased approach.”
Joseph McMonigle, Secretary General, International Energy Forum, provided insight into the role African energy will play in future global markets. According to McMonigle, “By the end of the century, two out of every five people on earth will be African. So, African energy will be central to the future. Expectations of a single global pathway to net zero are misguided and ineffective. To drive growth, Africa needs access to global capital.”
Mohamed Hamel, Secretary General, GECF, highlighted the significance of natural gas in Africa’s energy transition, stating that, “Natural gas is the partner of renewables. It plays an instrumental role in global security. Converting those reserves into reliable supply requires substantial investments. African nations should not be penalized for using natural resources to lift people out of energy poverty.”
Thereafter, distinguished industry leaders and international energy companies took the stage to shape a sustainable, inclusive future for Africa’s energy sector. Remarks centered on a diversified energy mix, with oil and gas representing a central part of Africa’s energy portfolio.
Rick Kennedy, Chairman and Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited, echoed remarks of the role of oil and gas. He stated that, “The world’s population is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 with more than half that growth expected in Africa. To meet this growth, we will need all forms of energy. At Chevron, we believe that oil and gas will remain an integral part of the energy mix. Africa is an integral part of the Chevron global portfolio and we take a long-term view in our partnerships with host countries.”
Similarly, Richard Barke, Director South Atlantic Exploration, ExxonMobil, stated that “While we expect new energy forms, fossil fuels will remain the most effective way to create the amount of energy needed to drive modern economies. Gas is a critical part of the overall solution to move to a low-carbon future. We have, for over 100 years, a partnership with you across this continent, and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”
Mike Sangster, Senior Vice President Africa E&P, TotalEnergies, emphasized the company’s commitment to the continent. He explained that, “TotalEnergies will continue to invest in Africa and are proud to be a partner for many African nations.” He added that, “We need more energy and Africa needs more energy. It is up to the industry to deliver this.”
#AEW2023 takes place this week in Cape Town under a mandate to make energy poverty history by 2030. Keep following www.AECWeek.com for more exciting information and updates about Africa’s premier energy event.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.