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Guinea-Conakry deserves a just energy transition and more oil and gas investments – Op ed – Sierra Leone Telegraph

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African Energy Chamber: Sierra Leone Telegraph: November 24, 2021:

Under pressure from climate change and energy transition directives, a growing list of oil and gas majors are switching from fossil fuels to renewables. As a result, they are withdrawing or reducing their investments in some of the most economically vulnerable hydrocarbon producing countries, most of them in Africa. Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria are among the first victims. The socio-economic effects of stranded resources are likely to be profound. For now, at least, leaving oil and gas in the ground means leaving impoverished people in the dark.

Fortunately, the outlook remains bright for other parts of West Africa, but only if strategic oil and gas development is allowed to continue unabated and the continent is allowed to set its own timetable for it. face GHGs and other climate challenges.

Many investors will be eager to have serious conversations about Guinea Conakry’s potential at the MSGBC Oil, Gas and Electricity Conference in Dakar scheduled for December 16-17 under the patronage of President Macky Sall. The two-day forum will bring together energy industry players from over 20 countries to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing Africa’s oil, gas and power sectors in an era of growing risk of climate change.

Despite the withdrawal of energy companies from some African hydrocarbon-producing regions in their attempt to meet net zero emission targets and avoid the reputational risk associated with fossil fuel development, geophysicists and analysts have high hopes on Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry Basin (MSGBC).

Energy data firm TGS called MSGBC a “shining light of African exploration”, while IHS Markit said it was “one of the most exciting areas in frontier exploration. in the world”. Australian company FAR is one of the E&P companies looking to tap into the potential of the basin. In partnership with Petronas, Malaysia’s national oil and gas company, FAR has contracted a deep-sea exploration vessel off The Gambia and is targeting 1.1 billion barrels of potential oil resources on a recoverable basis at 100% based on best estimates. An exploration well was scheduled to start between October 1 and November 30, which means that a first glimpse of the region’s new wealth might only be in a few days or weeks. It will be the first well drilled in the basin since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As for Guinea-Conakry, the continued development of the MSGBC basin could accelerate the economic growth of our country and help improve an electricity network far from meeting the needs of our nation.

Guinea has only one electricity distribution facility for 13.5 million people, with a reach largely limited to Conakry and a handful of small towns. In 2019, access to electricity was just over 66%; in rural areas, this figure drops to less than 10%. Home to the sources of the Niger, Gambia and Senegal rivers, Guinea’s hydroelectric potential is enormous but has remained largely untapped for decades. – contribute to the electric charge.

Yet, in the absence of modern fuels, most rural Guineans depend on firewood and charcoal for cooking. The only widely available form of renewable energy is traditional solid biofuel, not wind, solar, or even hydroelectric power.

Unlike most Western countries which establish net-zero and other climate programs, Guinea is a carbon sink, that is to say an area endowed with particularly abundant natural resources, especially forests, which absorbs more. of carbon from the atmosphere than it produces.

In total, Guinea’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is less than 0.1%. It is estimated that as we work to lift people out of poverty and overcome food insecurity, emissions will increase by about 4.4% per year.

As we will discuss at the MSGBC Oil, Gas and Electricity Conference in Dakar, we are not used to the challenges of climate change; none of the countries that will be represented there either. We realize that even though our carbon footprint is a small fraction of most other nations, we know that certain sectors of our economy are particularly sensitive to climate change, including agriculture.

What many Guineans are asking for is the right and privilege to create their own roadmap for sustainable development, a roadmap that gives them the dignity to use their resources to bring modern energy to their homes. population, to provide well-paying jobs, to invite foreign investment, and to determine how best to control their limited GHG emissions. Guinea-Conakry should have the right to create energy policies that reflect its reality, and not the realities of Western countries which have stronger economies and, therefore, contribute significantly more emissions than Guinea Conakry.

The African Energy Chamber looks forward to meeting and broadening the debate on oil and gas investments in Africa and their effects on the climate and our people.

SOURCE: African Energy Chamber

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