‘Nigeria, others rely on imported refined products despite potential’

“African governments MUST address the regulatory and fiscal conditions in order to attract investment and re-ignite development” – Effiong Okon, Operations Director. Photo/Twitter/seplatpetroleum

Despite the continent’s discoveries and potential in terms of oil and gas exploration, member-countries continue to face challenges of importing refined crude as they lack sufficient refining capacity.

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc’s Operations Director, Effiong Okon, made this assertion during his keynote address at the Africa E & P Summit, held in London recently.

Okon, in his keynote titled: ‘Oil and Gas Rising in Africa, restated the continent’s stance as the destination for gas development and investment, stressing that there has been abundant discoveries of oil and gas reserves, which have over the years, attracted key international oil companies to the continent.

Alongside the major producers is the rise of the independents who have also come into existence and have continued to grow in leaps and bounds, he explained, adding that, “the appetite for Africa oil and gas is still growing and continues to present significant investment opportunities. Investors are attracted to the many recent and ongoing licence bid rounds in the continent.

“Most of the oil majors and the independents companies have continued to flourish with some exporting not just oil but also gas out of the continent. Most companies had to restrategise portfolio balancing after the recent downturn in oil price. Assets have been changing hands between the oil majors and the Independents.”

Some challenges, according to the Seplat director, still exist despite the significant discoveries and impressive production of oil and gas across the continent, which has a good balance of oil and gas.

He stressed: “Over 100 people in Africa still do not have access to electricity. Lack of adequate infrastructure also still presents a problem.

“These challenges present huge opportunities for gas development and investment. As a result, companies such as Seplat have remained bullish with its gas development. Seplat, whose strategic location on the gas hub in the Niger Delta, facilitates its gas development.

According to him, the growing need for capital for emerging infrastructure such as refining and transportation of petroleum commodities and products and the development of a robust petrochemical industry, places the continent at a vantage point for investments.

He said given the huge opportunity in Nigeria, the company has continued to make significant investment of over $300 million at growing its gas business resulting to its current daily production capacity.

He said: “Seplat current well stock is capable of delivering around 400 MMscfd (gross).

“In addition to these, our Sapele Gas Plant upgrade and Assa North-Ohaji South (ANOH) project is to add 315MMscfd xapacity by 2020.”

Okon noted that of the top-20 discoveries globally between 2012 and 2016, Africa had the greatest contribution compared to any other area.

2019, according to him, looks promising for Africa with discoveries in South Africa, Egypt and Angola.

He explained: “Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, some of them lifted by new oil and gas discoveries.

“An estimated 7.5 per cent of global proven oil reserves (126.5bn bbls) and 7.1 per cent of global proven gas reserves (487.8Tcf ) sits in Africa.

“Oil and gas play a strategic role in economies of African countries giving them power and influence on world stage, and this trend is likely to continue with new discoveries in Ghana, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Mozambique, and Uganda.”

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