â€œFinancing oil and gas in a cyclical industry means that a long term view on the underlying growth prospects of the recipient or project is necessary. Risk mitigation is about understanding the bankability of the project as much as it is about appetiteâ€, stated Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani, Head of Energy and Natural Resources at FBNQuest Merchant Bank while speaking on funding strategies for the future African E&P Sector at the recently concluded 2018 Africa Assembly Oil & Gas conference in Paris.Themed â€˜The new African Horizonâ€™ and hosted by the Oil and Gas Council, the 2-day event is the regionâ€™s most influential corporate development strategy, finance and investment gathering of key stakeholdersand seeks to promote the growth and development of the African energy industry.
The conference focused on discussions aroundAfricaâ€™s oil and gas industry with panel sessionsto highlight regulatory foundations for developing a sustainable and efficient energy industry, private equity and alternative funding, innovative financing solutions for local and international oil and gas companies, changing operational environments as well as future opportunities for the African market. FBNQuest Merchant Bank, as sponsors, joined over 800 delegates from across the world to contribute to the discourse on strategies needed to showcase Africa on its next stage of oil and gas industry growth.
Speaking further on the subject, Afolabi Olorode, Deputy Head of Investment Banking at FBNQuest Merchant Bank stated â€œOver the last few years, the Nigerian upstream sector has increasingly diversified its funding sources from traditional reserve-based lending by banks to other sources, including off-take/pre-sale arrangements, ECA and OPIC financing, and private equity funding. We view this as a positive development for the sector especially in relation to funding gas monetization plans of the independent E&P companies.â€
Akinkugbe-Filani, also moderated the Womenâ€™s Council Breakfast Briefing at the conference, which focused on Women in the African Energy Industry.The growing trend ofwomen emerging as foremost entrepreneurs and leaders is shaping the Energy industry and has seen women take on bigger roles, including a new generation of female professionals seeking careers in the oil and gas fields. This encourages diversity and overall productivity which adds to the bottom line of the economy.
According to Akinkugbe-Filani, â€œIn Nigeriawhere the oil and gas industry has honed local content so well, some consideration of â€œgender contentâ€ in the oil and gas value chain may not go amiss if such policies are well targeted and periodically monitored. The Nigerian Content Development Act 2010 defines the minimum level of Nigerian content required for each sub sector of the oil and gas industry, thus providing a number of opportunities for local SMEs â€“ implicitly including those owned by women – to create linkages to industries where their participation has been historically insignificantâ€.
Every year, the Africa Assembly brings together senior industry stakeholders all under one roof, from E&P C-level executives, to key representatives from NOCs, ministries and local regulators to analyse the changes and evolution of the sector emerging into the new world order.