#MSGBC2021: Emphasizing the Potential of the MSGBC Basin

H.E. Sophie Gladima, Minister of Petroleum and Energies, Senegal.

Also available in French

On the first day of the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2021, a flagship Ministerial panel explored how the basin can maximize its significant resources, attract international investment, and further utilize regional collaboration for accelerated energy sector growth.

Speakers for the event’s flagship panel included H.E. Sophie Gladima, Minister of Petroleum and Energies, Senegal; Hon. Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Energy, Ghana; H.E Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General, OPEC; H.E. Lamin Camara, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, The Gambia; H.E. Gabriel M. Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, Equatorial Guinea; H.E. Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Saleh, Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy, Mauritania; H.E. Orlando Viegas, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy, Guinea-Bissau; and Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO).

Recent sizable discoveries made throughout the MSGBC basin have the potential to significantly impact the region, specifically regarding economic growth, social upliftment, and infrastructural advancement. As the region begins to exploit its oil, gas and renewable resources, the Ministerial panel investigated how countries can fully capitalize on these discoveries.

“In spite of COVID-19, I can say that prospects are very good for our common projects, which are in Senegal and Mauritania. The prospects are also good for all countries of the Basin. The GTA project is making good headway, most of the issues that stood in from of us have been removed,” said H.E. Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Saleh, Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy, Mauritania.

The region already serves as an example for how African countries can utilize regional collaboration to drive energy sector growth. During the panel, speakers explored what political, economic, social and business factors are currently driving or constraining investment.

“We are not a producing country, we are still exploring, but we have hope since we are part of a common basin that we will find resources. Next April, we expect to drill a first well, with the knowledge we have from The Gambia and Senegal and so we are hopeful that we will find these resources. The development of these resources will have a profound impact on our country as it will provide us with access to cheaper electricity and development opportunities. It’s been a difficult period in the last couple of years but we trust we will find success in the coming years,” H.E. Orlando Viegas, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy, Guinea-Bissau stated.

Oil and gas continues to be a main economic driver in the MSGBC region. With the global energy transition calling for measures to be implemented to reduce carbon emissions, the panel discussed how the sector and its stakeholders are prepared to manage a range of policy, investor and societal pressures to move to a low-carbon energy system, while at the same time meeting global oil and gas demand.

“We need resources to develop our countries and green our economies and use those resources to help the energy transition. We need a balance; you cannot get away from hydrocarbons. We are exploring and will continue to explore but are conscious of our environment,” H.E. Lamin Camara, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, The Gambia noted.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” added Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization, stating that, “We know that in the MSGBC Region, there are still big companies that are making commitments, but the important thing to note is that for too long, Africa has looked outwards for support to do what it needs to do in terms of technology, in terms of finance, and in terms of human expertise. There needs to be a convergence between governments and the private sector in Africa where a decision should be taken that this is exactly where we are going.”

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the role that oil and gas plays in the region, significant renewable energy potential across regional markets, coupled with the global push for clean energy developments, is leading to enhanced investment within the renewable energy space.

“I can say that results are available and that is why we can bring our scientists together to find cleaner technologies. While we have to be able to adapt and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the climate injustice that we are facing today makes us believe that we must do our level best to turn towards social justice, otherwise, we will run the risk of destabilizing the world,” H.E. Sophie Gladima, Minister of Petroleum and Energies, Senegal stated, adding, “The world needs to work hand-in-hand to grow, to develop, and to be stable.”

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