Preparations towards the take-off of the Africa Energy Bank (AEB), a joint project being promoted by the Africa Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO) and the Afreximbank, has reached an advanced stage.

The Bank, when established, is expected to focus investment in oil and gas projects across Africa.

Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of APPO, who announced this in Accra, said Ghana, is being considered as a main contender for the host of the AEB Headquarters.

“We are confident that the Bank shall takeoff before the end of the third quarter of 2024,” he said.

He said an inspection team had recently been in Accra to inspect Ghana’s proposed Headquarters building, adding that they left to inspect the other proposed headquarters in some other countries, namely Nigeria, Benin and Algeria.

Speaking at the just-ended APPO Roundtable conference held in Accra, Dr Ibrahim said a closeout meeting on the negotiations on the founding documents of the Bank, namely the Establishment Agreement, the Charter and the Draft Host Country Agreement had all been discussed.

“In the first week of June, I will return to Cairo for the signing of the documents by the founding members of the Bank, namely APPO and Afreximbank.”

Regarding financing the Bank, Dr Ibrahim said payments had been received from a number of member countries even before the Bank would formally take off.

“Moreover, we have received interest to invest in the Bank from outside the continent.

The two-day roundtable brought together oil and gas operators and regulators from APPO member countries to share experiences in various methodologies, technologies and regulatory frameworks in dealing with the challenges of gas flaring and fugitive methane emissions with a view to enhancing the understanding of how to handle the challenges.

The Petroleum Commission Ghana, hosted the roundtable on the theme: “Towards Zero Routine Gas Flaring and Lower Methane Emissions in APPO Member Countries’ Oil and Gas Operations.”

Dr Ibrahim said the subject discussed at the conference was of great consequence to the African oil and gas industry –namely the climate challenge and energy access.

He said the commitment to pursuing programmes aimed at zero routine gas flaring and minimizing fugitive methane emissions in member countries’ oil and gas operations was targeted at reducing emissions and thereby, contributing to alleviating environmental challenges and by implication, working towards achieving net-zero in emissions to the atmosphere, among others.

Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr, Chief Executive Officer, Petroleum Commission, Ghana, said the need to reduce greenhouse gas emission had been an area of global attention over the last century but had gained attention over the last decade.

Also, global drive had intensified with the looming negative impacts of climate change and global warming, while world leaders have stressed the need to limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century.

That had led to various commitments and pledges from various countries, including Ghana.

He said gas flaring and methane emissions were two important concerns that must be addressed by the petroleum industry in Africa, if the continent would meet its climate targets and continue to attract investments to its petroleum industry in a sustainable manner.

“It is important that as APPO member countries, we are aware of this important challenge, engage each other to exchange ideas on policy measures, state of art technologies and investments needed for minimising gas flaring and methane emissions in the operations of the industry.”

Gas flaring, the 160-year-old practice of burning natural gas associated with oil extraction, and the related methane emissions represent as much as 12 percent of the greenhouse gases released by the global energy sector.

“Phasing out routine flaring is one of the essential steps toward combining resource efficiency with long-term economic success and a way to strongly support our efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of petroleum operations,” Mr Faibille Jnr stated.

Mr John Aboah Sanie, Deputy Minister for Energy, on behalf of the sector Minister, commended APPO members for their resolve in ensuring that global emissions were reduced thereby, reducing the impact of climate change.

He said Ghana on its part, had made a conscious effort to encourage all thermal power producers to utilize gas from producing fields thereby increasing their efficiency while reducing flaring from these fields.

He, therefore, expressed the hope that the conference would carve a path for the APPO member countries to reduce emissions, identify most productive uses of natural gas and enhance investments in the petroleum sector.

“We need to demonstrate our commitment and efforts to reduce methane emission globally, and I request APPO to champion that,” he said.

As part of the conference, the Petroleum Commission also took the delegation from the various African countries attending the APPO Conference, on a tour to the Sunon Asogli Power Plant and the Tema Oil Refinery to showcase the process of oil and gas flaring and to access the technology that were being deplored to reduce flaring and methane emissions.

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