OPEC President Gabriel Lima pushes back against Western pressure to abandon African oil and gas resources

World Oil staff December 15, 2022

(WO) — Speaking during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on Dec. 13, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons and OPEC President for 2023, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, discussed the importance of oil and gas development in Africa. He spoke about how exploitation of the continent’s natural resources will serve to reduce energy poverty while establishing an independent path towards a just and inclusive energy transition.

With calls by Western forces for Africa to shift immediately away from the use of fossil fuels, H.E. Minister Lima discussed how mounting pressure to abandon the continent’s natural resources has impacted Africa’s socioeconomic development.

With dwindling oil and gas projects and major divestments occurring throughout the industry, Africa’s vast, newly discovered oil and natural gas assets are threatened.

The Minister argued that fossil fuels have an important role to play in the global energy transition and stand to bring reliable energy to the hundreds of millions – 600 million in sub-Saharan Africa – of Africans who lack access to energy. As a catalyst for industrialization, economic growth, and greater stability for Africa, the exploitation of fossil fuels will be used to expand the continent’s wealth and energy security.

Minister Obiang Lima stated, “Anyone asking African countries not to develop fossil fuels is criminal.

He added, “It is criminal because they are telling us that we do not have the right to develop. The largest number of members of OPEC, this year, are African countries. Mozambique is going to become the biggest supplier of gas, Senegal will become a big supplier of gas, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea will become big suppliers of gas. So, what you will have in 2035, you will have the African continent serving as the biggest supplier of oil and gas.”

“We are not responsible for the climate crisis; the climate crisis has two players: the producers and the consumers,” the Minister stressed. “What’s driving it is the demand. You need the resources to be able to develop and we will continue to do so.”

Serving as one of the continent’s most significant impediments to socioeconomic development, energy poverty eradication will require an immense, concerted effort. It necessitates the utilization of all energy resources available within Africa.

As such, natural gas, which is found in abundance throughout Africa, will be a crucial tool to decarbonize

African countries have embraced a message of “drill, baby, drill” and “gas, baby, gas” as a pathway to making energy poverty history and defeating climate change given Africa’s low greenhouse gas emissions and the need to industrialize as promoted by the African Energy Chamber. 

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