Building on the momentum of NJ Ayuk’s opening address, MSGBC 2022 attendees were greeted to a keynote from Gordon Birrell, bp’s Executive Vice President of Production and Operations, who noted that the gas richness of the MSGBC region is even more significant today than when the resources were first discovered five years ago.
“We don’t only need low carbon energy; we need secure energy and affordable energy… Where bp operates, we are building an economic and social legacy – working with 350 local companies, creating over 3000 local jobs, addressing the highly complex engineering jigsaw the world faces for power in light of recent world events.”
Passing from one dominant MSGBC energy major to another, bp’s Gordon Birrell gave way to Shiva McMahon, Executive Vice President of International Operations at Woodside Energy, in an insightful keynote carrying forward the hopeful messages from the morning’s opening addresses.
“We find ourselves at a unique crossroads defined by the obstacles we’ve overcome where many countries are turning towards Africa for an answer to their energy demand… We need energy that is lucrative, resilient, diversified to thrive in a competitive evolving industry, and supported by the Senegalese government, this is precisely the nature of Woodside’s developments in three pillars: gas, oil and new energies, fulfilling 5% of global LNG demand and operating Sangomar- the nation’s first offshore oil development projecting 100,000 b/d initial production next year,” she said.
Woodside EVP Shiva McMahon’s MSGBC address was succeeded by that of Milton Catelin, Secretary General of the International Gas Union.
“Access to affordable, reliable, secure energy is a human right. But choosing the right energy mix in terms of human impact is a human responsibility. Balancing this right and responsibility is the crux of modern energy discussions… Gas is the fastest available, flexible, efficient and sustainable long-term vehicle to get the world back onto the energy transition path… 319 trillion cubic feet of gas await discovery in sub-Saharan Africa, offering a very real opportunity for the continent to take control of its energy future,” she noted.
Taking the mic from Milton Catelin, H.E. Tom Alweendo, Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy, was next to take the stage. Having experienced a hydrocarbons surge of its own with the discovery of 11 billion barrels of offshore oil in 2011, Namibia is a vision of a bright future for the African hydrocarbons sector, marking two major discoveries just this year- Shell’s 300 million barrels at Graff-1 shortly followed by TotalEnergies’ 3 billion barrels at Venus-1 the following month.
“Energy is a critical catalyst for development; thus, we call for an energy transition that is just and equitable among nations. In order to reap the social and economic benefits for our citizens, we need to be steadfast. We must determine our own energy transition timetable to match our priorities, granting energy access to the 600 million Africans.”
Maintaining the momentum of H.E. Tom Alweendo, Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy’s address, H.E. Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization graced the hundreds of assembled delegates with his insights from the oval room stage.
“Oil and gas constitute a major pillar of African energy security… We have used fossil fuels for over 100 years to transform our societies, and so we cannot and must not abandon hydrocarbons across the continent… As Western financial institutions announce divestments, we at the APPO are working to establish an Africa Energy Bank to take up the slack, to institute world-class oil and gas research, innovation and development centers across Africa and realize the full potential of Africa’s 125 billion barrels of oil, taking practical actions to forestall challenges to our industry.”
H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chairman of the African Union closed the session, highlighting the need for Africans to be united and the importance of creating strong partnerships across the continent and globally. “Africa cannot be an object of global geopolitics, it must be a conscious actor, a competitor and collaborator with win-win partnerships driving power forward. We need capacity development, we need capital but mostly we need people to work together.”
Touching on COP 27 he said “At COP26, a unilateral decision was made to freeze outside funding for hydrocarbons. This is a death blow for Africa… But I am pleased to announce that it has not stopped us from progressing… I’m happy to see young Africans stepping forward to take up the mantle and I salute the possibility of the transformational effect this industry could have on our MSGBC nations… We must celebrate… and we must follow our own African narrative at COP27.”