During a recent visit to Nigeria, AEC Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk met with industry leaders, national oil companies and private sector executives to discuss how the upcoming African Energy Week 2021 will promote Nigeria as the premier destination for investment in 2021 and beyond
NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber's (AEC) recently conducted a working visit to Nigeria with a sole mandate to expand cooperation, reaffirm critical energy partnerships, and promote the country as a premier investment destination, backed by the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the Decade of Gas initiative. By reiterating the value of the Cape Town-hosted African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 as a platform whereby Nigeria can facilitate impactful energy deals, market the country's reformed energy sector, and attract both regional and international investor interest, both the AEC and AEW 2021 remain committed to driving investment and associated deals in Nigeria.
Backed by the country's recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the 'Decade of Gas' initiative, and the prioritization of local content, Ayuk's visit to Nigeria comprised meetings with industry leaders, including H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, and officials from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR); private sector executives; and national oil companies including representatives from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. As Nigeria promotes the fact that it is officially open for business, AEW 2021 serves as the ideal platform to market the country, uniting international investors with lucrative Nigerian opportunities.
Notably, the visit aimed to emphasize the role of Nigerian oil and gas developments in a bid to attract international investor interest to new and existing projects. Through meetings with marginal field producers, the NNPC and the DPR, Ayuk opened a discussion on the role of oil and gas in Africa's energy transition, drawing attention to the value and competitiveness of African projects. By showcasing the country's new and existing oil and gas projects - such as the $2.8 billion, 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline and the $10 billion Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas Train 7 project - both Nigeria and AEW 2021 aim to drive oil and gas directed investment, expanding Nigeria's sector and accelerating long-term socio-economic growth.
Meanwhile, with the country's Decade of Gas initiative - a comprehensive strategy to enhance gas monetization and utilization through a number of large-scale projects - comprising top of the country's energy agenda in 2021, a meeting with H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva served to promote Nigeria's gas industry, with the Minister declaring an ambition to enhance gas-directed investments, accelerating growth across the sector and the wider economy. Under the Decade of Gas initiative, Nigeria is committed to fully exploiting its natural gas reserves - which represent the largest in Africa estimated at 206.53 trillion cubic feet - and is, therefore, prioritizing gas-to-power projects and associated developments. H.E. Chief Sylva remains committed to energy investments and has confirmed that the upcoming AEW 2021 will serve as the ideal platform for deals to be made that will kickstart Nigeria's Decade of Gas enabled by the passage of the PIB.
Ayuk's meeting with the Minister additionally focused on the benefits initiated by the PIB, reiterating the role that this progressive legislature will play in spurring investment in Nigeria. The recently passed PIB will pave the way for an influx of international energy investments across the entire value chain in Nigeria, creating an enabling environment for international stakeholders, in which reduced taxes and royalties coupled with Hydrocarbon tax exemptions for deep offshore oil and gas production has positioned Nigeria as one of the most competitive investment destinations in Africa. Accordingly, the PIB has not only completely overhauled the country's regulatory structure, but has significantly enhanced its attractiveness, serving as a catalyst for new investments that will drive growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. AEW 2021 will showcase Nigeria's post-PIB opportunities in a bid to drive investment and deal-making.
"Nigeria is open for business. The passing of the PIB coupled with demonstrated political will has emphasized and reaffirmed the country's enabling environment and we can expect an increase in both regional and international partnerships and investment. AEW 2021 will work hard to promote Nigeria as a top investment destination, with the Nigerian delegation offering valuable insight into new and existing project developments and opportunities. There are many deals to be made in Nigeria and AEW 2021 will be the place to make them," stated Ayuk.
Additionally, meetings with Nigerian service companies led to a discussion on the role of local companies and the private sector in driving regional energy growth and Africa's energy transition. By emphasizing the role that Nigerian companies can play in regional markets - including but not limited to Angola, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo - both Ayuk and the Minister promoted the value of Nigerian businesses in sharing valuable experience, showcasing successful projects, and consequently, driving growth across the entire region. Increasing Nigeria's footprint in regional markets will not only initiate regional growth but will open up numerous investment opportunities for both Nigeria and the wider region.
With regards to Africa's energy transition, Ayuk's visit opened a dialogue on Nigeria's pragmatic approach to an energy transition, emphasizing the value of a Nigerian-focused and adapted strategy to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Meetings with both the NNPC, the Minister and the DPR comprised in-depth conversations around the role of oil and gas in Africa's energy transition, the recognition of the private sector as a key driver, and the need for a multi-stakeholder approach. AEW 2021 will extend on this narrative, emphasizing the fact that Africa's energy transition is market-based and cannot conform to Western ideologies. Rather, both Nigeria and AEW 2021 will demonstrate how an Africa-centric approach is most suitable in initiating an energy transition while at the same time ensuring energy poverty alleviation and economic development.
Serving as a form of prelude to AEW 2021, Ayuk's visit to Nigeria introduced valuable discussion points which will be further examined at AEW 2021. With a strong delegation of industry leaders, private sector executives, and national oil company representatives, coming to Cape Town in November, led by H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, AEW 2021 comprises the official platform whereby deals regarding Nigeria's energy sector will be made. Both the AEC and the Ministry are fully committed to driving investment in Nigeria, facilitating deal-making, networking and collaboration.
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