African oil producers gather for congress in Angola
As fuel prices are rising at alarming rates all over the world, Angola is hosting the 8th African Petroleum Congress and Exhibition (CAPE VIII). We talk to Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), about this year’s theme and possible solutions to one of the greatest threats to the stability and livelihoods of any economy.
Afolake Oyinloye: The APPO Secretariat has been reorganized for more efficient operations, can you share with us the impact of the reorganization on the management of the Secretariat?
Dr Omar Farouk Ibrahim: The Appo has existed for 25 years before the Ministerial Council decided that there was a need for a major restructuring and reform of the organization. And it was done knowing full well that the global energy scene changed tremendously between when Appo was founded in 1987 and the last ten years or so in 1987 when Appo was founded, the challenge was peak oil. People thought that very soon the world was going to run out of oil. Today, no one thinks about peak oil anymore, but they think about switching from fossil fuels to renewable energies. And the Appo Ministerial Council thinking ahead decided that, look, are we really prepared for the challenges that the energy transition is going to pose for Africa and oil-producing countries? And this has motivated the decision to reform and restructure the organization to be able to meet the imminent challenges that the energy transition will pose to African oil-producing countries.
Afolake Oyinloye: What are the strategies that the APPO will implement to ensure that the African oil and gas industry remains relevant given the global advocacy for fossil fuel reduction to achieve net zero emissions as a means to overcome the challenges of climate change?
Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim: Well for so long. 75, 80 and 90 years since Africa became an oil producer, the business was basically oil export driven. We looked outside the markets. We looked outside of finance. We looked for the technology outside. We even looked outside for expertise. And now that the world has decided to move away from fossil fuels, the source of these funds, technologies, markets and expertise will abandon industry. And the challenge for us is to be able to master this technology. Increase our own finances, get our own markets and also expertise. And these are the challenges Appo is working to solve today. And we commissioned a very in-depth study on the future of the oil and gas industry on the African continent. And the results of this study tell us that we need to be able to start looking within. Because with 1.3 billion inhabitants on the African continent. We cannot say that we have no market. What we need is to develop this market, and we will know that the 7 million barrels of oil that we produce daily are not even enough for us to talk less about sending it.
Afolake Oyinloye: How can the APPO use the conclusions and recommendations of CAPEVIII to influence oil and gas policies in the member countries of the organization?
Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim: In fact, it is the essence not only of our capes, but also of our conferences and congresses. The idea is to bring in diverse people with diverse thoughts on issues affecting the oil and gas industry. Let’s talk. Let’s dissect these questions and see different perspectives. And based on what we hear from the different actors, we make recommendations to our governing bodies who look at that and make the necessary policy decisions and oblige the national oil companies and governments to implement them. Thank you so much.