he African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris – kicked off at the Westin Paris Vendome with opening remarks by industry experts from across the African and European energy sectors.

The groundbreaking forum serves as a catalyst for amplifying European investments in African energy projects, while simultaneously forging new bilateral connections to fortify a thriving partnership between these two regions.

The opening ceremony saw addresses by Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy of the Republic of Namibia; H.E. Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo; Ministerial remarks: H.E. Didier Budimbu Ntubuanga, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Democratic Republic of Congo; NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC; Per Magnus Nysveen, Senior Partner & Chief Analyst, Rystad Energy; Benoît de la Fouchardière, CEO, Perenco and Eric Melet, CEO Rail & Logistics Solutions, Africa Global Logistics.

“It is not just a transition, it is a journey, and that journey starts in Paris. Paris has been so important in this journey. This is the city where the climate agreements were signed, and it cannot be a real agreement without us talking about a just energy transition,” opened Ayuk, adding that, “It is really important that we move to drive deals, approve projects, create opportunities and drive investment. We have got to move big on the fiscals and getting deals done. Sign baby sign.”

Talking about Congo’s progress regarding gas monetization, H.E. Minister Itoua emphasized that, “We want to use the gas we have. We have a project to produce gas and work is underway. In Q4 2023, we could have the first exportation of liquefied natural gas – 600,000 tons per year – and we want to reach 3 million tons per year by 2025.

The Minister noted that an institutional framework to give incentives to oil companies was on the cards, stating that “We will have a gas code which will be implemented at the end of the year with the help of the World Bank, we will launch a promotion campaign for gas soon. Gas is the best transition energy.”

Meanwhile, H.E. Minister Ntubuanga said that the DRC, “has great potential for hydrocarbons. For the three gas blocks that we have in Lake Kivu, we have confirmed everything and have a PSC in place. Regarding the call for tenders, this is closed and we are working on them to figure out how we can work out the contracts. The potential in the DRC is 22 billion barrels of oil. We are working on legal incentives to attract investment.”

As the continent moves to unlock the full potential of its oil and gas resources, European players, armed with their expertise and resources, have an increasingly important role to play in financing and developing African hydrocarbons.

According to Hon. Alweendo, “We understand that you come to Africa to invest. It is a business and we need to understand your position, what will make it easier to invest and what we need to do to get you to sign deals. From the 16-20 October, there will be a big conference which will explain the importance of investing in Africa.”

Looking forward, despite external shocks that continue to impact oil and gas development, Africa’s energy landscape is on the path towards rapid transformation, with continental players pursuing an energy transition that is just and includes every resource.

“When I talk about the energy transition in Africa, I always talk about energy addition. It is not about either or, but that everything has to happen all at once. We are seeing a lot of investment in the continent, mostly coming from oil and gas,” stated Nysveen.

As Africa’s energy sector expands, the role the logistics industry plays has become increasingly important. On this note, Melet stated that, “Logistics has a role to play to support the change of energy availability in Africa. Our mission is to support the continent by providing tailor-made logistics across the industry, improving connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world, and contributing to create a virtual logistics ecosystem.”

Adding to this, de la Fouchardière stated that, “We want to take action. You say ‘drill baby drill,’ ‘sign baby sign,’ we say: produce baby produce. We have eight exploration wells, have made one major discovery and have just started producing six months after signing the deal in a new field in the Congo.”

With these addresses, the forum officially kicked off, serving as a bridge to connecting European players with African counterparts.

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