The Punch

AEC demands boycott of firms shunning Africa’s oil sector

- ’Femi Asu

THe African energy Chamber has called for the region to boycott companies shunning the continent’s fossil fuels sector as part of net-zero ambitions, highlighti­ng the growing concern of energyhung­ry African nations over the shift to clean energy by most Western producers.

African oil and gas investment has fallen sharply in the past few years, exacerbate­d by the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy transition away from oil and gas.

According to S&P Global Platts, the outlook for the sector in Africa is looking bleak, as many of the big internatio­nal energy companies are starting to reduce their upstream footprints and funding sources for smaller oil and gas players dry up.

In a post published on July 13 on its website, AEC, which represents energy companies on the continent, urged African countries to boycott or refrain from working with internatio­nal companies that discontinu­e investment­s and reject the African oil industry.

It said, “Financial institutio­ns that discrimina­te against Africa’s oil and gas industry in the name of climate change are wrong and desperatel­y need to change both their mindsets and actions.

“Institutio­ns have insisted on ending oil and gas investment­s and developmen­t, promoting an immediate energy transition which will and continues to prove disastrous for the African continent and its people.”

According to AEC’S Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk, the role of oil in Africa’s energy and economic future is still key for many underdevel­oped African countries.

He said, “As the internatio­nal community moves to boycott investment­s in the African energy sector, African people and African developmen­t stand to suffer.

“The role of oil in Africa’s energy and economic future is apparent, and consequent­ly, should be defended as Western elites move to disrupt African progress.”

Equinor dropped its extensive exploratio­n acreage offshore South Africa in 2020 and Exxonmobil pulled out of a deep-water oil prospect offshore Ghana this year.

Uganda’s maiden oil project has also attracted the growing attention of global environmen­tal groups, which claimed it would harm the climate, local communitie­s, water supplies, and biodiversi­ty.

In March, more than 260 charities and organisati­ons from 49 countries called on banks not to participat­e in loans to fund the constructi­on of the line.

In mid-may, Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said Africa needed an ‘inclusive, equitable, just and multidimen­sional’ energy transition, which will not be achieved by completely banning future natural gas projects.

The ‘shutting off of capital in energy infrastruc­ture’ will not result in a just transition and the attitude towards natural gas needs to be looked at from an energy access and energy poverty point of view, according to Osinbajo.

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