West African Energy Ministers Emphasize ‘Gas is Good for Africa’ for a Sustainable Africa’s Energy Future

West African Ministers on September 1st and 2nd discussed the future of natural gas in the region and the role it will play in developing regional economies at the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2022 conference and exhibition held in Dakar, Senegal.  

According to EnergyCapital & Power’s report, the theme of the conference focused on ‘Developing a domestic natural gas economy in the MSGBC – Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea Conakry regions and the surrounding economies.

The African Energy Chamber’s Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk, moderated the discussion with panelists, including H.E. Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Salah, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s Minister of Petroleum, Mines, and Energy, and H.E Sophie Gladima, the Republic of Senegal’s Minister of Petroleum and Energies. The panel also included energy ministers and other executive members of the MSGBC community.

The ministerial panel acknowledged that the region is rich in oil and gas resources that need to be leveraged. Opening the discussion, Hon. Abdoulie Jobe, The Gambia’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, said: “We all know the basin is very rich in oil and gas resources. What we need to do is provide access to affordable, clean, and sustainable energy. Gas is an integral element for transformational change.”

The delegates highlighted the advantages of gas for local economies, with members stressing the need to tackle energy poverty in Africa using gas. According to H.E Salah, the real problem is how to deliver energy to every African citizen.

He further argued that some African countries have been producing oil and gas for years but still experience the highest energy poverty because they export the resources. The panel agreed to give priority to access for all African citizens to energy and security.

The issue of extant global geopolitics was raised with major reference to Europe’s current thirst for West African gas. “It is important to be able to look not only at the short-term but also the long-term. The most secure market for African producers is Africa,” stated H.E. Lima, explaining that we need to be able to create a market.

“If we can export LNG to South Africa, Egypt and others, this will be long-term. To secure our future and reduce energy poverty, we need to create energy security.” H.E. Itoua added that for the next 25 years, they would see energy demand rise, stating that they cannot face this demand without gas. The delegates agreed that the region needed to create energy security to reduce energy poverty and secure the future.