Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has called for the creation of an African Local Content Fund, to finance oil and gas projects across the continent.
Wabote made the call on Tuesday at the 6th Edition of the Sub-Saharan African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, organised by Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) in Lagos, with the theme: “Fostering Collaboration to Create Cross Border Partnerships across the Oil, Gas and Energy Spectrum”.
Delegates for the conference were drawn from various countries including Ghana, Liberia, Gabon, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Namibia Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda, Niger, Mozambique, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somali Land.
Wabote stressed the need for African countries to collaborate and harness the continent’s vast hydrocarbon resources within the shortest possible time.
He noted that funding and incentives were essential to implement local content programmes, develop infrastructure, attract new investments, and keep existing businesses afloat where required.
Wabote said: “Let me use this opportunity to once again canvass for the creation of an African Local Content Fund that could be utilised to set up a bank or finance institution to provide funding for the development of oil and gas projects in Africa.
“This is especially important against the backdrop of the reluctance and outright declaration by some banks and financial institutions to stop funding of hydrocarbon-related projects.
” I hope the Afri-Exim Bank, African Development Bank, or the African Union through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat need to institute a form of contribution, no matter how little, as a fund to support the continent’s need for funds.”
According to him, the NCDMB has been able to grow its intervention fund to the size of $500 million, covering Asset Acquisition, Project Financing, Manufacturing, Working Capital, Loan Refinancing, Women in Oil and Gas, and Research and Development.
He said the fund was being used to catalyse construction of modular refineries, gas processing plants, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminals and bottling plants.
Wabote said it was also being used for the establishment of LPG cylinders manufacturing plants, lube oil blending plants, base oil production plant and methanol production plant.
“There is no doubt that much more than these could be realised if replicated at the continental level,” he added.
Also speaking, Malam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd., said there was need for African countries to connect, collaborate and create strategies for development of the oil and gas sector.
Kyari, represented by Mr Adokiye Tombomieye, Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, NNPC, said research, data sharing and technology were critical to the growth of the industry in Africa.
Dr Omar Ibrahim, Secretary General, Africa Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), said the continent’s huge oil and gas resources must be utilised for socio-economic development, irrespective of the global push for energy transition.
Ibrahim said Africa’s contribution to green house gas emissions was about two per cent , stressing that the continent should be allowed to embark on its energy transition journey at its own pace.
He, however, warned that African countries were running out of time to make judicious use of their hydrocarbons.
Ibrahim said there was need for massive industrialisation and diversification of their economies using oil and gas.
Earlier in his address of welcome, Mr Nicolas Odinuwe, Chairman, PETAN, said the value chain in the oil, gas and energy industry was such that if properly harnessed would transform the economy of the entire continent.
He noted that the challenge had been an enabling environment to create a private sector-led industry.
Odinuwe said: “Government across Africa, especially the oil and gas producing sub-Saharan countries, should therefore provide necessary incentives to attract private sector investment across the entire value chain.
“This will indeed trigger a massive economic revolution, human capital development and deepen local content across sub-Sahara.”