During the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) working visit to the Republic of the Congo, Secretary General H.E. Mohammed Barkindo met with H.E. Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), and Congolese Minister of Hydrocarbons H.E. Bruno Jean Richard Itoua, to discuss a unified approach to the continent’s energy transition. Emphasizing the value of collaboration between the two organizations, H.E. Barkindo and Dr. Ibrahim agreed that the continent requires an adaptive, market-driven and inclusive approach to the energy transition, in which hydrocarbons will continue to play a significant role.
In sharing the APPO’s recent reforms and overall mission, Dr. Ibrahim emphasized the need for increased public-private sector cooperation and participation to harness Africa’s abundant resources and drive economic growth. According to Dr. Ibrahim, “The APPO maintains a strong position in combating petroleum industry challenges and driving investment in both the Congo and other African states.”
As one of Africa’s most influential oil and gas organizations, the APPO is dedicated to pursuing accelerated growth across all member countries. Accordingly, in addressing these challenges, Dr. Ibrahim stated that “a sustainable and durable approach is needed to drive Africa’s energy growth, with intra-African collaboration being a key driver.”
Meanwhile, the topic of Africa’s energy transition remained a key point of discussion between the two organization heads,with Dr. Ibrahim noting that “the APPO has taken the energy transition very seriously and will drive investment in projects that will change Africa.” However, both H.E. Barkindo and Dr. Ibrahim firmly emphasized the critical role that oil and gas will play as Africa transitions to a cleaner energy future.
“We will not allow billions of barrels of oil to go to waste and we will not be bamboozled into projects that we don’t need – ones which will not address energy poverty. We need to sit down and have an honest conversation about the energy transition,” continued Dr. Ibrahim.
“We in OPEC also categorically reject the narrative that the energy transition is from hydrocarbons to renewables because this narrative is completely misrepresenting science. We believe that all sources of energy are required today and in the future to meet the challenges of climate change and future demand for energy. According to our World Oil Outlook at OPEC, energy demand will grow by a minimum of 25% between now and 2045. Therefore, we have to promote all energy resources in an efficient and sustainable manner. Our industry, therefore, is part of the solution to climate change,” stated H.E. Barkindo.
Additionally, with the oil and gas industry offering a catalyst for wider energy and economic growth, Dr. Ibrahim and H.E. Barkindo insisted on the role that women have to play in Africa’s energy transition. Notably, as women comprise the most affected demographic regarding clean cooking and energy poverty in Africa, they will be key drivers of the energy transition and must be included in discourse. In addition to female inclusivity, the meeting highlighted the role that African enterprises will play in the transition, in which collaboration between local companies, international oil companies and host governments can significantly accelerate progress.
Meanwhile, the role of cooperation, not only among African nations, but also between influential organizations such as OPEC and APPO, was brought to light. Notably, the meeting emphasized the role that OPEC and APPO will play as a unified force. H.E. Barkindo implored Dr. Ibrahim to “not compete with OPEC, but rather, the two organizations must strengthen each other, driving energy sector development and improving the lives of millions of Africans.”
Both OPEC and APPO have an integral role to play in advancing Africa’s energy sector, with Congolese Minister H.E. Itoua stating, “Energy is vital for development, and a strong relationship between the APPO and OPEC is crucial for Africa.” With OPEC having hosted the first-ever Energy Dialogue with Africa Summit in June 2021, in collaboration with the African Energy Commission, the APPO and African Refiners and Distributors Association, the meeting between the two Secretary Generals served to further enhance existing collaboration between the two organizations. By leveraging this productive working relationship, as well as promoting unity, cooperation and partnerships across Africa, both the APPO and OPEC will drive Africa’s energy future.
“The Republic of the Congo is well-known for embracing cooperation and multi-stakeholder engagement, which is underscored through the hosting of the APPO in Brazzaville. The Triumvirate of OPEC, APPO and the Congo are in a strong position to not only highlight the vital role of oil and gas, but also to help push the agenda of African countries, and the challenges they face as developing nations,” stated H.E. Barkindo.
With both OPEC and the APPO calling for a platform whereby an inclusive and productive discussion can be initiated regarding Africa’s energy transition, the African Energy Chamber has stepped up, providing the most suitable event for dialogue, deal-making and engagement. Through the African Energy Week 2021 interactive conference and networking event, organizations such as OPEC and APPO will be able to meet and engage with global stakeholders, collaboratively making the decisions that will drive Africa’s energy transition and future.
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