Africa possesses immense potential in oil and gas sector, energy expert says

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Several African countries, such as Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, and Egypt, are major players in the global oil and gas market. The continent is rich in hydrocarbon resources, with large proven reserves of oil and natural gas, according to energy expert Joseph Narh.

Speaking to the Global South World on African countries that hold promising opportunities for oil and gas exploration and production, Narh, the Executive Chairman of the Energy Chamber of Ghana and the Project Mentor for the African Energy and Minerals Management Initiative mentioned Nigeria as one of the largest oil producers in Africa and having significant untapped reserves both onshore and offshore.

Nigeria has retained its position as the largest oil producer in Africa, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) indicated.

Ghana, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania, Algeria, Libya, and South Africa are also significant contributors to Africa's oil and gas sector, according to Narh. Each of these countries has unique reserves and investment opportunities.

Narh added that Namibia has recently captured attention due to the discovery of resources such as the Kudu Gas Field and Osprey Oil Field.

According to World Oil, the Kudu offshore field has proven reserves of around 1.3 trillion cubic feet of gas. However, due to recent findings of hydrocarbons, Namibia's potential natural gas reserves in the Orange Basin could increase significantly, primarily due to the associated gas uncovered in these recent discoveries.

These discoveries according to Narh "indicate the existence of substantial hydrocarbon reserves. If managed prudently, they have the potential to drive economic expansion, generate employment opportunities, and foster technological progress," he told Global South World.

International media Reuters reported that Africa holds around 13% of the world's natural gas and 7% of its oil but has the world's lowest per capita energy use.

In the foreseeable future, Africa will require oil and gas to address its energy access deficits, yet there are obstacles to overcome. According to a 2022 study by McKinsey Insights, numerous African economies are heavily dependent on income generated from oil and gas. However, extracting oil in Africa typically involves higher costs and greater environmental consequences than other geographical areas.

With energy demand in Africa outpacing available supply, Narh explained that Africa is making efforts towards developing its oil and gas sector through investments and policies which are going in the right direction.

"Africa's oil and gas sector has been experiencing increasing investment from both domestic and foreign companies. Many African governments have been implementing policies to attract investment and promote exploration and production activities," Narh said.

"Additionally, technological advancements have made it possible to explore and develop oil and gas reserves in previously inaccessible areas, further expanding the sector's potential in Africa," he added.

Despite the efforts by African governments to make full use of the oil and gas sector, Narh indicated that "the potential of Africa's oil and gas sector also comes with challenges. These challenges include political instability, regulatory uncertainties, infrastructure deficits, environmental concerns, and fluctuating oil prices."

"Addressing these challenges effectively will be crucial for unlocking the full potential of the sector and ensuring sustainable development," Narh remarked.

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