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Beyond Boundaries: SAIPEC 2024 Explores Opportunities for African Energy Expansion                    

By William Emmanuel Ukpoju

As the world seeks sustainable solutions to meet its ever-growing energy demands, the 8th edition of Sub Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC), organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), with the theme: “The Next Steps: Accelerating African Content”, holding at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, is taking centre stage in global conversations as Africa’s largest Energy, Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition.

The exhibition serves as a beacon of progress that seeks to showcase the latest advancements and trends in the dynamic realm of energy, oil and gas. As the theme implies, this year’s SAIPEC is promoting local content production across Africa in addition to innovation, collaboration, and cutting-edge opportunities. Through interactive sessions, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, the event will bring together industry leaders, policymakers, academics, and stakeholders from around the world and participants will have the opportunity to engage with experts to share ideas relating to best practices, and forge strategic partnerships aimed at addressing the complex challenges facing the energy sector in Africa.

Speaking during the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Mr Ekperikpe Ekpo echoed the Federal Government’s readiness to foster alliances that would facilitate national goals for domestic gas utilisation and export.

The Minister, who was represented by Mrs. Oluremi Komolafe, Director of Gas, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, said that the ministry had identified finance and investment in infrastructure as critical to the development of the gas sector.

According to him, as part of the tools to address this problem, the Midstream and Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund was put in place to enable the government make equity investments in gas Infrastructure. “As we gather to harness ideas to develop our energy sector, let us not forget the various incentives put in place by the government to encourage the gas sector development.

“These include three years’ tax waivers for companies that build and operate gas pipelines and could be extended to five years at the satisfaction of the ministry.

“Also, recently, Mr. President approved the zero duty and VAT for imported CNG and LNG,” he said.

Hon. Ekpo also said that existing tax waivers on imported gas equipment were geared toward deepening gas penetration in Nigeria.

He said, “The responsibility of developing our energy resources does not depend on government alone.

“It calls for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and commitment on the part of the private sector industry players, too, as government makes the right policies and creates the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

“As we anticipate the kick-start of critical infrastructure such as the AKK, and the expansion of the Lagos-Escravos pipeline to Morocco and further to Europe, we call for collaboration to support existing Government initiatives.

“There is a huge demand for gas in Nigeria, and the sector is large enough to accommodate everyone.

Similarly, the minister said that SAIPEC was significant for the energy sector, especially at a period when energy transition and security are paramount.

He extolled the organisers of the conference for unceasingly promoting ideas and collaborating with African oil and gas companies.

Also speaking, The Commission Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) Engr Gbenga Komolafe, highlighted the rapid transformation of the global energy landscape, amidst urgent climate concerns.

Engr. Komolafe underscored the pivotal moment facing the sector, with swift changes targeted to shape the future of energy worldwide. In the wake of COP28, where discussions on the fossil fuel phase out clashed with OPEC’s call for a balanced transition, Komolafe emphasized Nigeria’s commitment to aligning its energy transition with regional circumstances and economic goals. He referenced President Bola Tinubu’s address at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2023, echoing Nigeria’s dedication to the cause.

The NUPRC Chief stressed the importance of ensuring energy justice, equity, and sustainability as Nigeria and other resource rich economies navigate this evolving landscape and highlighted that the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 (PIA), is a cornerstone initiative aimed at promoting transparency, efficiency, and innovation for sustainable development.

Deliberating on strategic measures to boost production, Komolafe outlined Nigeria’s efforts to enhance production and tap into its full potential despite challenges.

He furthermore noted that Nigeria’s potential goes beyond traditional hydrocarbon resources to opportunities in green and blue hydrogen, solar, wind, biomass, and other renewable energy sources. This diversified approach, he emphasized, is crucial for sustainable energy development in the country.

From minimising environmental impact, to promoting alliances between African countries, the 2024 SAIPEC exhibition highlights the industry’s commitment to driving positive change and fostering a more sustainable and robust future in Africa with specific regards to the energy sector.