Bank-Anthony: African Countries Must Diversify from Crude Exports


The Chairman of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Mazi Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of two oil service companies – CB Geophysical Solutions Limited and Vhelbherg International Limited, in this interview urges economies in Africa to develop refining capacity to eliminate smuggling. He also speaks about preparations ahead of the 2020 Sub Saharan African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference. Peter Uzoho presents the excerpts:

What’s the idea behind rebranding WAIPEC to Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference?

It is no longer West Africa focused, but the focus is now on sub-Saharan Africa

For SAIPEC 2020, what will you be presenting to industry stakeholders that will be different from your previous editions?

Oil & Gas as an Enabler for Economic Transformation in Sub-Sahara Africa. We will be discussing critical issues affecting the oil and gas industry in sub-Saharan Africa today and how to create value and use energy as an enabler for economic transformation, industrialisation and growth instead of as rent. We will assemble seasoned industry stakeholders and experts who will dissect this theme from their perspectives and experiences.

From your experience so far and in your opinion, what are the challenges in the region?
Collaboration and economic diversification – Economic diversification needed now; most especially diversification from crude export to in-country refining for more value addition; inter-country trade cooperation and tariff harmonisation across adjoining countries to minimize or eliminate smuggling. There is also the challenge of integration – No economic or fiscal integration in sub-sahara Africa.

In terms of capacity, for the sub-Sahara African sub-region to compete favorably and overcome the negative effects of the cyclical crude oil price trends, we need to increase our refining capacities to sustain our in-country needs and then trade excess more with other Sub Sahara –African countries. This will be more cost effective than imports from Asia, Europe or America. It is imperative that we need to balance high crude output with high refining capacities to reduce imports costs and charges, export charges, subsidy payments etc. This will effectively position us to get more value from the crude fractions as opposed to a single price value for the crude alone. It will also ensure that we are less exposed to market fluctuations and then give us control of products marketing and supply. As we reduce reliance on imported refined products, we would be more competitive.

What are your plans about strengthening SAIPEC throughout the region, with emphasis on your action-plans to use the event as a platform to create opportunities for Indigenous companies operating in the region?

We have huge resource base in Africa, 128 billion barrels or 7.5 per cent of world proven oil reserve, 503.3 Tcf (86.8 billion BoE) or 7.6 per cent of world’s proven gas reserves and 26 Billion barrels (Libya 5th globally) of shale oil. Shale gas potential Algeria third globally 707 Tcf or 121.9 billion BoE. It is estimated that Africa oil & gas will increase by 74 per cent by 2050. We need to collaborate, learn, and establish common economic interest. If common economic interest is not created, we are wasting our time. Electricity to Africa should be the starting point of development. Without access to electricity correlates with poverty. How can we build Sub-Sahara African content? The type of regional collaboration needed is that that will create wealth and value in our region. The oil & Gas industry needs to become an enabler for Africa economic growth and not just a revenue earner. An economy powered by adequate electricity & petroleum products.

We need to build enough entrepreneurial capacity in Africa. Africa need about a 100 Dangote’s and Tony Elumelu’s in Africa. Our priority should be to eliminate poverty while preserving our environment. Africa is under explored with a huge hydrocarbon potential and a readily available market. The continent has the opportunity to use its oil and gas reserves to boost its economic and social development. The future prospects look brighter than before. Investors have changed their perception of Africa as a risky jurisdiction to a jurisdiction of enormous opportunities. With the enablers in place, the oil & gas industry will finally become a source for Africa economic growth and not just a revenue earner. Regional collaboration requires government and industry working together because of the complex issues involved.

What are the success stories so far from your previous editions?
Great network opportunities created with delegates from Uganda, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Gambia, Liberia, Ghana, Angola, Mozambique. Each country shared opportunities and learning points from their different countries and areas open for exploitation and cooperation. It was great and well attended

What are the available services in your organisation for companies who have business enquiries or seeking opportunities?
We provide services that cover the entire oil & gas value chain from exploration to the tank farm. From Seismic Acquisition, Processing, Interpretation, Drilling, Logging, Completion, Engineering, Stimulation Services, Pipelines, Pipe coating, Marine Vessels, Sub-sea services, Training, coiled tubing, sand control, cementing, slickline, well head, fabrication, installation, operation & Maintenance, FPSO etc