Investment in infrastructure needed to support African oil and gas development

Good road networkDevelopment of road networks, such as this project in Nigeria's Lekki Free Trade Zone, is essential for oil and gas development. (Image Source: LFTZ)Infrastructure investment of US$150bn over the next eight years is required for Africa to meet energy demands, according to Steve Lowden, chairman, NewAge

His comments at Africa Oil Week echoed those of multiple speakers who also emphasised the need for multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment in roads, airports, ports and rail, as well as oil and gas industry-specific infrastructure projects.

Addressing Africa Oil Week in Cape Town this week, he said that the “infrastructure deficit” in Africa will become even more apparent with energy consumption in Africa set to double by 2035. The downturn in investment had coincided with a time when Africa “needs more gas, more power,” he said.

From 1975 until 2009, energy consumption has flat lined across Africa “yet there's plenty of gas”, Lowden said. “If just 17 per cent more was used for power generation, African energy consumption would be the same as India.”

Lowden outlines NewAge's projects across Africa. These include 2D and 3D seismic in Morocco with a view to drill next year, multiple projects in Ethiopia, a sandstone project in South Africa, and promising 2D and 3D seismic and a gas-to-power project with Eni in Congo-Brazzaville.

According to Lowden, narrowing the infrastructure deficit should run hand-in-hand with developing gas-to-power projects across Africa, another ongoing theme of Africa Oil Week. As well as the Congo-Brazzaville project, he cited the importance of developing a gas field and FPSO for the Nigerian domestic market.

The growing impact of Chinese investment on infrastructure development was raised by Mr Lowden, including such companies as COIDIC, CSSC, Exim, Hope and SinoSure, all of whom are seeking to expand their presence in Africa.

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