In order to create a new era in which regional businesses can utilize and develop their own resources for the benefit of their own citizens, the continent is making policy and legislative progress. Ongoing regional interaction is essential for this.
In the private sector, Africa is rapidly taking control of its own energy future.
However, it is also creating the legislative and policy instruments necessary to facilitate economic self-determination, which is just as significant.
There is no country where this is more apparent than in Nigeria, where the long-awaited passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) into law last year is poised to unleash enormous potential in the local and regional energy sector.
To regulate key areas of the sector, the Act has established two regulatory authorities.
The technical and business regulation of petroleum operations in their respective sectors would fall under the purview of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
The upstream includes the exploration of natural resources as well as the drilling and management of natural gas and crude oil wells.
While petroleum downstream is primarily concerned with the refining and processing of petroleum and natural gas as well as marketing and distributing finished goods to consumers, midstream typically refers to the transportation and storage of petroleum products by pipeline, barges, tankers, or trucks.
The creation of these regulatory bodies will open up a wealth of opportunities for interaction with business organizations that represent the companies that propel the sector.
The Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), an association of Nigerian technical oilfield service businesses that spans the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors, is prominent among these.
This long-standing organization brings together Nigerian oil and gas business owners expressly to share ideas with influential operators and decision-makers and to support the growth of Nigeria’s petroleum technology sector for the benefit of Nigerians.
PETAN seeks to assist and increase the participation of indigenous businesses in the Nigerian petroleum products sector under the direction of charman Nicolas Odinuwe.
There has long been discussion about the need to improve Africa’s capacity for beneficiation, to assist the continent in moving downstream from being a primary producer of commodities, and to break the centuries-old trend of developed nations grabbing Africa’s resources and processing them elsewhere for huge profits.
In the petroleum industry, PETAN is at the forefront of assisting Africa in achieving this.
The company calls itself “the pioneer of local content in Nigeria… promoting the cause of greater indigenous involvement in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
In the regional context, PETAN, an association that prioritizes local content, has a role to play in ensuring that Nigerian enterprises are prepared to win international or regional bids for the processing of basic commodities like crude oil and natural gas.
There are already many instances in the petroleum sector where a shallow-water asset owner in Nigeria might hire a European firm to maintain its wells even though a local provider is capable of doing the same thing.
In order to standardize local content so that it fits local demands and increase private-sector involvement in domestic production, the industry must continue to communicate with one another.
An exciting opportunity to promote this form of intra-industry cooperation and contribute to the development of an African energy industry marked by mutual benefit rather than unequal power relations exists with the establishment of Nigeria’s new regulatory bodies.
The next Africa Oil Week in Cape Town, (AOW), the international platform for encouraging deals and transactions across the African Upstream, will be a crucial arena for this kind of engagement.
Governments, domestic and foreign oil firms, independents, investors, members of the geological and geophysical community, and service providers are all present at the event.
In light of this, the African Union’s plan for an Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement aims to establish a single continental market for goods and services with unrestricted capital and investment flow.
This ambition can be significantly advanced by a more cohesive African energy sector, with, for example, Nigerian companies collaborating on Angolan energy projects and vice versa.
A semi-autonomous oil and gas sector with the ability to serve both domestic and international markets on its own terms may develop over time.
It takes continual strategic involvement and communication to get to this stage.
The groundwork for this is being laid by forward-thinking regulation and policy.
Africa must continue to connect and collaborate across national and regional boundaries if it is to assume its proper position as an energy superpower.