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AGIS 2024: Innovatively Unlocking Gas for Africa’s Energy Sustainability

Dr. Ikechukwu Stanley Okafor

By William Emmanuel Ukpoju & Ese Ufuoma

he recently concluded Africa Gas Innovation Summit, held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria, brought together industry leaders, policymakers, and innovators to shape the future of the gas sector in Africa. The two-day event was a hub of activity, with keynote speeches, panel discussions, and networking opportunities that sparked meaningful conversations and collaborations. The summit’s mission is to catalyse sustainable development and economic growth by harnessing Africa’s abundant gas resources with a focus on innovation, collaboration, and investment.

Spearheaded by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council, in collaboration with key partners, the inaugural Africa Gas Innovation Summit (AGIS 2024), with the theme “Igniting the Future: Driving Sustainability in Africa’s Energy Landscape through Gas Technology and Innovation,” reflected in the enthusiasm and dedication of the attendees. They shared a common goal: to harness the potential of gas to drive economic growth, reduce carbon emissions, and increase energy access across the continent.

Speaking with Valuechain during the Summit, SPE Council Conference Chair, 2024, Engr. Magdalene Umoh, said the 2024 AGIS is a maiden event and an initiative by industry stakeholders to promote the Pentahelix Model for the African gas sector. “The Pentahelix Model collaborates among five stakeholders – the industry, government, academia, entrepreneurial community and venture capitalists.” She further stressed “We are trying to create an eco-system where we can bring in these five key stakeholders to collaborate and integrate, so as to be able to come up with solutions to the challenges facing the gas industry in Africa.

“The AGIS is going to be a regular event, and it is not just talk and talk; we will come up with solutions after identifying the challenges, such that by next year’s event, we will come up with practical solutions to share with participants”, she added.  

“AGIS 2024 represents a unique opportunity to drive sustainability and innovation within our energy landscape. By bringing together industry leaders, policymakers, and entrepreneurs, we aim to foster a collaborative environment where cutting-edge research and technological advancements can thrive,” said the Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council, Engr. Salahuddeen Tahir.

Salahudeen said that the Africa Gas Innovation Summit (AGIS) is an advocacy platform for gas-related issues, a landmark and ground-breaking event aimed at reshaping the future of Africa’s gas industry across the continent. Engr. Tahir, who said this in an exclusive interview with Valuechain, noted that the AGIS is a brainchild of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and serves as a critical base for advocacy in the gas sector within Africa.  Earlier in his welcome address, Tahir observed that Africa’s energy landscape is at a critical juncture, with the imperative need for sustainable solutions. Tahir explained that the “top-most challenges in our industry are financing, technological and skills gap, high costs of oil and gas production, infrastructure challenges, global push for transition to cleaner energy as well as security issues.”

He reiterated the importance of disseminating industry developments through platforms like The Valuechain Energy Magazine and called for continued collaboration to keep stakeholders informed about subsequent industry events and advancements.

Engr. Salahuddeen Tahir.

In his address, the Honourable Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Obongemem Ekperikpe Ekpo, enumerated the adoption of gas technology and innovation, shaping effective policy frameworks, unlocking financing avenues, nurturing capacity building, and cultivating entrepreneurship as measures that would shape the future of Nigeria and Africa’s energy landscape. Ekpo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ambassador Nicholas Agbo, noted that as the country embark on this journey, it should be guided by a shared vision of progress, inclusivity, and sustainability.

On his part, the Group CEO, NNPC Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari said NNPC has in the past few years, ramped up investment in the gas sector to ensure improved supply and utilization. Represented by the Executive Vice President, of Gas, Power and New Energies, Olalekan Ogunleye, Kyari said that the NNPC has made major investments in floating LNG and gas pipeline projects.  “Indeed, we are currently participating in three mini LNG projects slated for ground breaking this August. NNPC is also currently leading the federal government’s auto-gas initiative. Aside from the recent commissioning of the 5.2mscf per-day Ilasamaja mother-station CNG plant, the GCEO of NNPC recently announced plans to take FID (Final Investment Decision) within this year and roll out six additional CNG mother-station plants with similar capacity”, he added.

Also speaking at the event, the Director General, National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mines, Morocco, Engr. Amina Benkhadra disclosed that there are currently over $245 billion worth of investment opportunities for the provision of gas infrastructures across the African continent. Benkhadra said the construction of gas pipelines, gas terminals, and gas processing plants presents huge opportunities for investors.

Meanwhile, the Head of Commercial Operations, Oando Plc Solomon Ikanade-Agba, said the security challenges facing the industry have been identified as a significant threat to the development and utilization of gas in Africa. Ikanade-Agba observed that the uncertainty caused by these challenges, including the sabotage of gas pipelines, poses a major obstacle to the sector’s development. He also emphasized the importance of incorporating technology to address these challenges and harness synergies to realize the sector’s full potential.

Important takeaways from the summit included the need for policy reforms, investment in infrastructure, and adoption of innovative technologies to unlock the full potential of Africa’s gas resources. The event also highlighted the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing in driving progress in the industry. Key discussions centred around cutting-edge technologies, sustainable practices, and investment opportunities. Experts shared insights on digitalization, LNG technologies, and innovative methods to enhance gas recovery rates. The summit also highlighted success stories from countries like Nigeria and Mozambique, showcasing the transformative impact of gas on their economies.

The communiqué at the end of the Summit is expected to guide stakeholders and policymakers alike. Dr. Ikechukwu Stanley Okafor, who is the Program Chair of SPE Abuja Section, and a member of the 2024 AGIS Planning Committee, told Valuechain that the AGIS Summit will be proactive in its approach to ensuring that the right policy framework is captured in the communique. According to him, “We will drive the conversation that changes the narrative; the AGIS is not all about speeches, we will speak and activate what was spoken and we will drive our communique into stakeholders’ policy statement so as to build on the solutions.”

The Africa Gas Innovation Summit was a resounding success, providing a platform for stakeholders to come together and shape the future of the gas sector in Africa. The AGIS is a beacon of progress, that illuminates the path to a sustainable energy future. As the continent continues to navigate the energy transition, the AGIS will remain a vital catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and growth, and will play a crucial role in unlocking the power of gas to drive sustainable development and economic growth. While challenges persist, the summit emphasized the importance of regional cooperation, policy reforms, and infrastructure development. The event concluded with a call to action, urging stakeholders to work together to shape the future of Africa’s gas industry.

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