Niger has by far been the African country to look out for in terms of growth in the oil and gas sector. In April 2018, Savannah Petroleum – a British independent oil and gas company focused on oil and gas activities in Niger, has recorded five consecutive commercially viable oil discoveries in the Southeast of Niger (Vanguard 2018). The future of oil and gas is very promising so much so that even before the discovery made around October this year, Savannah Petroleum signed a legally binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Savannah’s Niger subsidiary (Savannah Niger) and the Republic of Niger. The MOU affirms the commitment of both parties to the realization of a proposed early production scheme (EPS) in the country.
This EPS is intended to be domestic-focused, with oil produced from one area of oil discoveries. These discoveries have spurred other companies to look in the direction of the country. In the early days of November 2018, Oranto Petroleum, Africa’s most prominent indigenous oil and gas company, through its chairman, Prince Arthur Eze announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Petroleum of the Republic of Niger for the acquisition of four blocks. This is great news for the country’s development and growth. They can really do well with the revenue and infrastructural development that will accompany these projects. We might likely see similar moves by other international oil companies in the months and years to come.
Niger is today the new frontier star market in West Africa and an investment opportunity for industry players big and small. The country is at the brink of a new era in its history, one that can bring great wealth to its people and future generations, and that can raise millions from poverty. The way this opportunity is managed by the country’s leaders will determine if that potential is ever fulfilled and we can only hope that it is, but many steps still need to be taken for Nigeriens, young and old, to come to directly benefit from their land’s hidden treasures (Nj Ayuk 2018).
Africa is the world’s fastest economic region with a growing population that is becoming more urbanized. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Africa’s total energy demand is forecast to increase by 60% to 28 000 trillion British thermal units by 2030.
Hydrocarbons are expected to continue to play a major role in the energy mix that will satisfy Africa’s growing energy needs. Major gas resources on the continent including Mozambique, Nigeria, Angola, Tanzania, Senegal, and Mauritania, could augment the key position of gas as an energy source for Africans. In the low-carbon context, gas also plays the role of a transition fuel before a wider switch to renewables, a development that is likely to take longer in Africa than on other continents. (PricewaterhouseCoopers 2017)
The continuous increase in demography and the demand for different types of transport will also result in an increased demand for petroleum products – liquid fuels. Several African countries are planning to build and upgrade existing refineries. These countries include Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Ghana, São Tomé & Príncipe, and Zambia. Given projected population growth and refined fuels consumption, an estimated additional 3.4 barrel per day of refined fuels will be needed to meet Africa’s needs by 2030. (British Petroleum 2017).