Nigeria is leading six other African countries in the 13-members Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) currently producing about 80 percent of the global proven crude oil reserves, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said.
Despite this, the Minister said Nigeria, along with its counterparts in Africa, was facing the challenge of declining investment to boost its capacity.
The Minister who spoke in Abuja on Tuesday when Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons,Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, visited him, said the OPEC also account for 38 percent of global crude oil production, and 48 percent of exports.
The other OPEC members Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Libya, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Indonesia, and United Arab Emirates.
Lima was visiting Nigeria in his capacity as the 2023 President of the OPEC Conference as well as the President of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Council of Ministers.
While receiving him in his office in Abuja, Sylva said it was remarkable that Africa was producing the 4th President of OPEC Conference in consecutive years.
“This is a demonstration of Africa’s capability to lead and direct global affairs, and to take its rightful place among the comity of nations on global issues,” Sylva noted.
On Nigeria’s role in the organisation, Sylva said since joining OPEC on July 12, 1971, the country has produced six Presidents of the OPEC Conference who presided over 26 OPEC Ministerial Conferences held in several countries of the world.
Also, he said Nigeria provided four OPEC Secretaries General, spanning a total of 17 years of managing the affairs of the OPEC Secretariat on behalf of all its members.
Since its establishment on September 14, 1960, Sylva said OPEC has been spearheading the stability of the global oil market for the benefit of all.
He said the success of OPEC has been convincingly demonstrated during several booms and bursts that plagued the global oil industry, especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
The Declaration of Cooperation with 10 non-OPEC oil-producing countries, he noted, was an unparalleled feat in the history of the oil industry, as the agreement, said the which involved the decision cut down of members’ crude oil production, succeeded in saving the oil industry from total collapse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pact, he said, equally helped in the recovery of the global economy following the devastating pandemic.
“It is now widely acknowledged that had OPEC not existed over the past 60 years, the global oil market would have been in perpetual chaos. Many countries would not have been able to develop their oil industry due to stiff competition. The collaboration between OPEC member countries enabled the participation of all players, whatever the level of production. This underpins the importance of OPEC Membership,” Sylva said.
On gas development, Sylva said the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) was established on May 20, 2001 during the First Meeting of Ministers held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
As an inter-governmental organization, he said the Forum acts as a global advocate of natural gas and a platform for cooperation and dialogue, with the view to support the sovereign rights of member countries over their natural gas resources and to contribute to global sustainable development and energy security.
Currently made up of 12 full-fledged members, of which five are African countries – Algeria, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Nigeria, Sylva said the Forum, together with the GECF member countries, control about 72 percent of the global proven gas reserves, 44 percent of the marketed production, 56 percent of exports by pipeline and 52 percent as LNG exports around the world.
On the challenge currently threatening the growth of the the oil and gas industry in Africa, Sylva identified dwindling investments as top on the list.
With the fastest growing population in the world, and an unimaginable prevalent energy poverty level across the continent, Sylva said Africa’s energy need would continue to grow in leaps and bounds over the foreseeable future.
With an estimated 640 million Africans with no access to electricity, and about 900 million others with no access to clean cooking fuels, Sylva said the current global drive towards renewable energy would require Africa to continue to utilise its abundant oil and gas resources for the continent to be delivered from the shackles of perpetual energy poverty and stunted economic growth.
With over 125 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserve, and over 630 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas reserve, he said Africa requires average investments of about $40 billion annually in the medium term to sustain oil and gas production in the continent.
He implored the visiting OPEC leader to use the opportunity of his Presidency to promote the cause of Africa and attract more investments into the oil and gas industry in the continent.
Local content, he pointed out, should be at the driver’s seat for investments in Africa’s oil and gas industry, for the continent to witness a sustainable development.
He commended the on-going move to establish an African Energy Bank in Africa, describing this as a right move in the right direction.
Assuring that Nigeria would continue to fully support efforts of both OPEC and GECF in their quest to balance and stabilise the energy market for the benefit of all, Sylva emphasised the need to strengthen shared values, protecting the common interest of member countries and building the successes recorded so far.