Left to right: Verner Ayukegba, Senior Vice President, African Energy Chamber as the moderator; Joseph Medou, E&P Director, Petrosen; Cany Jobe, Director of Exploration, Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC); Mamadou Fall Kane, Deputy Permanent Secretary, COS-Petrogaz, Senegal; Abdel Malick Maouloud, Advisor to the Director General, SMHPM, Mauritania; and Beydi Diakite, National Petroleum Data Bank Manager/ National Office of Petroleum Research (ONRP), Mali.
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Energy Capital & Power proudly hosted the first-ever West African national oil company (NOC) summit during the first day of the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2021 Conference and Exhibition. Under the theme ‘Creating Energy Opportunity Through Foresight, Vision, Inspiration and Innovation,’ the summit provided a platform for a strategic discussion on how NOCs can fast track the MSGBC’s energy success.
Speakers during the summit included Joseph Medou, E&P Director, Petrosen; Cany Jobe, Director of Exploration, Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC); Abdel Malick Maouloud, Advisor to the Director General, SMHPM, Mauritania; Beydi Diakite, National Petroleum Data Bank Manager/ National Office of Petroleum Research (ONRP), Mali; and Mamadou Fall Kane, Deputy Permanent Secretary, COS-Petrogaz, Senegal.
The NOC debate started off strongly addressing issues of energy justice:
“As the world keeps talking about reducing exploration, it is clear for all of us here that Africa needs more exploration. We are very happy to be witnessing exploration in Gambia with some exciting new results hopefully coming up in the next couple of weeks,” stated Cany Jobe, Director of Exploration at GNPC, Gambia.
Together, the speakers explored the current outlook of leading west African NOCs and how these companies are fortifying cross border transactions and collaboration towards sustainable energy growth.
“Today, to resolve the issue of an integrated internal market in Africa is absolutely fundamental. Without it, we will continue to be completely dependent on the flows of the global market and will not be able to provide our countries with the resources to develop economically and offer opportunities for our youth,” stated Mamadou Fall Kane, Deputy Permanent Secretary, COS-Petrogaz, Senegal.
Specifically, Cany Jobe emphasized that with significant projects currently underway, the region’s NOCs have a critical role to play in advancing asset acquisition, specifically highlighting The Gambia’s upcoming bid round as an opportunity for regional NOC’s to participate in asset acquisition.
“The Gambia will have a licensing round which is going to be launched next month. This is focused on the A1 block, which was managed by BP. BP has exited the asset due to its restructuring to refocus on developing assets rather than frontier exploration, but that does not at all reduce the attractiveness of the geology of the block and we are excited to be launching the bid round for interested investors, not least the region’s NOCs who we would love to see participate in the tender.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic tightening capital strings worldwide, the panel made a strong case for the role of NOCs in capital raising, particularly regarding hydrocarbon projects, however capable players will continue to be able to secure capital for bankable ventures:
“The issue of financing is certainly not restricted to the oil and gas sector. It is structural to the whole of our industry, however, within the oil and gas industry, financing is not really an issue, given that the companies have the capacity to deliver on their contracts. I have never seen a Senegalese company that has gained a contract and that found itself without access to credit. I have never heard of it happening”, stated Mamadou Fall Kane, Deputy Permanent Secretary, COS-Petrogaz, Senegal.
Meanwhile, the role of NOCs extends from hydrocarbons to renewables. Notably, as countries progress towards an energy transition, MSGBC players are looking to capitalize on the abundant renewable resources present across the region. During the panel, speakers explored how African NOCs can reform themselves to ensure they play a key role in driving Africa’s energy transition.
“We have just made a major natural hydrogen discovery in Mali, we can even say that Mali is at the forefront of natural hydrogen development worldwide and not only do we already use it to power some of our towns, within 7 to 10 years we could see a truly developed natural hydrogen sector,” declared Beydi Diakite, National Petroleum Data Bank Manager/ National Office of Petroleum Research in Mali (ONRP).
The MSGBC basin’s energy future hinges on the effective partnerships between the private and public sector. Accordingly, NOCs need to work collaboratively with the right private sector players to drive energy developments, working in unity rather than competition, regardless of the challenges ahead.
“We are not sleeping. We continue to pursue exploration efforts with our partners. With Woodside at Sangomar, we continue to explore new resources, and, despite COVID-19, we managed to continue with seismic work with Total this year. So, we are continuing to work to find more oil and more gas,” concluded Joseph Medou, E&P Director, Petrosen, Senegal.