• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Africa should balance energy security with transition concerns – ARDA

Africa should balance energy security with transition concerns – ARDA

The African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) has said it is critical for Africa to simultaneously prioritise its energy transition and ensure the security of current supplies.

Anibor Kragha, executive secretary of ARDA, made this known at the 18th annual conference of the (ARDA) in Cape Town, which had more than 400 delegates in attendance, according to a statement.

“Separate implementation strategies are needed for cleaner, lower carbon generating fuels to meet the critical current demands and the urgent progress towards sustainable renewable energy,” he said.

“A measured decade-by-decade sustainable finance plan to ensure that investments are made to deliver a unique African energy transition is essential. This must go along with coordinated refining upgrades and infrastructure projects.”

Kragha said ARDA is committed to securing project financing for strategic opportunities for the African downstream oil sector, providing funds for refinery upgrades for clean fuels storage and distribution, and petrochemical and LPG sector development.

According to Kragha, volatilities and geopolitical issues had exposed the vulnerabilities of the world’s energy mix – security, affordability and global supply. We must ensure uninterruptible access to energy supplies at an affordable price.

“The Ukraine crisis had brought into sharp focus the need for short-term interventions alongside long-term goals. We currently have the trilemma of achieving decarbonisation of existing operations, reinforcing energy supplies security and ensuring price stability,” he said.

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According to the statement, the conference has been the backdrop to a call for Africans to keep funds invested in the continent rather than offshore to provide financing for the estimated $190 billion annual energy funding needed in Africa.

“This was followed by an announcement by two African banks of a $16 billion injection into oil and gas projects on the continent,” it said.

The oil sustainability program of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was also represented by Mohammad AI Tayyar, the program director, who spoke of innovative solutions to energy transition and the creation of groundbreaking applications for oil.

This aligns with the call of the African Energy Chamber (AEC) who recently said that Africa needs a pragmatic approach to its energy transition not necessarily following Europe’s path to net zero emissions.

Speaking during the Oxford Business Africa Forum on March 10, NJ Ayuk, executive chairman of AEC said natural gas is the best way forward in view of Africa’s energy poverty. This should be followed by a strategy that would enable the continent to transition to a cleaner energy future, but not at the risk of socioeconomic development.

With over 600 million people without access to energy in Africa, it only makes sense that the continent harnesses all of its natural resources to alleviate energy poverty he said.

“Natural gas, affordable and abundant in Africa, can spark significant job creation and capacity-building opportunities, economic diversification and growth. Why shouldn’t Africa capitalise on those opportunities?”

Climate crisis represents a major global challenge. Africa faces the worst impacts of the crisis, with environmental disasters threatening the livelihoods of populations. “However, immediately transitioning away from oil and gas will not bring the economic relief the continent needs,” he said.

“I am not saying that African nations should continue oil and gas operations indefinitely, with no movement towards renewable energy sources. I am saying that we should set the timetable for our transition and decide how it’s carried out.”