Transformative Pipeline Initiatives: Boosting Regional Connectivity Discussed at AEW 2023

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With regional integration a top priority for African countries, a panel discussion at African Energy Week 2023 delved into how infrastructure projects can bolster regional connectivity, advancing resource monetization and driving economic growth.

As many African countries progress with monetizing oil and gas resources, cross-border infrastructure is expected to play a catalyzing role in strengthening regional connectivity while advancing energy development and economic growth. A panel discussion held during the African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 explored the evolving energy map in Africa and how pipeline projects and cross-border infrastructure will shape the continent’s economic landscape.

Kicking off the panel discussion, Irene Batebe, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda, emphasized the critical role of regional integration in advancing pipeline projects.

“The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) will be a perfect example of integration. Working together with the government of the Republic of Tanzania, we had to ensure we put in place a robust legal and regulatory framework, because that way you give certainty to the development of the project, not just to the developers but also the financials. Because the project must be bankable. We worked closely with the government of the Republic of Tanzania to put in place and it’s a governmental framework, but also domesticated locally in formal post government agreements to provide for certain aspects, there has to be a regional position”

For emerging producers, cross-border pipeline infrastructure is integral.

“In terms of strategy one of the key areas that we focused on in designing the framework for the development of the pipeline was to ensure that we provide for third party access and that is very critical because our neighbors like the DRC and South Sudan,” continued Batebe.

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has seen an increase in oil and gas potential, with new discoveries in Namibia and first liquefied natural gas exports in Mozambique.

“This is an opportunity for the west in terms of integration of SADC and presents the opportunity for gas and power. In fact, Namibia made the first Kudu Gas discovery in 1994 and in South Africa a discovery was made in the early 2000s. Those gas resources have remained stranded due to the lack of a market for gas resources and also there have been a lack of infrastructure to harness these resources,” stated Bongani Sayidini, COO, Petroleum Agency SA.

Regarding environmental and human concerns of the EACOP, “There have been claims that we have evicted projected affected persons without consent but this is false. The government nor the project developers force the project affected persons. We pay attention to the vulnerable groups and the elderly during the settlement process. We do have a government valuer that comes to assess what those people who have settled deserve,” said Batebe.

#AEW2023 takes place this week in Cape Town under a mandate to make energy poverty history by 2030. Keep following for more exciting information and updates about Africa’s premier energy event.