The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has stressed that the continent’s oil and gas potential is steadily growing, according to a communiqué by the African Union (AU).
According to the AU Commission’s release on Monday, UNCTAD says that Africa is gaining importance as an oil-producing region, and that from 1990 to 2005 oil production rose from 6.5 to 9.3 million barrels per day, representing an increase from 9.9% to 11.2% of world production.
“The sustained high oil price in recent years has highlighted Africa’s potential as a supplier of oil, and the continent has become the focus of attention of some major oil importing countries, most notably China,” UNCTAD is quoted saying.
The announcement comes at a time AU plans to host the second edition of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Hydrocarbons at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from December 9 – 11, 2009.
The AU division of communication and information notes that the meeting will review the oil and gas sector in Africa through a study jointly conducted by the AU and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
It is stressed that, “as globalisation is affecting Africa with crises such as high oil prices, the conference will dedicate a session to regional training on the simulation model on high oil prices impact on the African economies.”
“A strategy and a plan of action for the resource mobilization for the African Petroleum Fund are meant to be designed during the Conference.”
Meanwhile, Rwanda is exploring oil on its territory, and the prospects are said to be promising.
Vangold Resources Ltd - a Canadian Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation, has been exploring oil in the Western Province’s ‘Kivu Graben’ – parts of Nyungwe and Gishwati forests as well as Lake Kivu.
The survey has already signalled and identified two specific areas suspected to contain reserves even though further studies are expected.
Towards the end of September, Government announced that it was taking precautionary measures not to be rushed into striking a deal on the oil exploration concessions given to Vangold Resources Ltd.
Government officials led by Dr. Albert Butare, the former Minister of State in charge of Energy and Vangold President, Dal Brynelsen, held discussions in September to assess the progress in the ongoing exploration work.
Vangold then agreed with the government (of Rwanda) to enter into talks for a special exploration license.
“Projects like this that are big, sensitive in nature and that are likely to bind the Government for a long time. They take long everywhere in order to ensure that Governments come up with favorable deals,” Butare told The New Times in September.
A team of relevant ministers including Finance, Justice and Trade along with technical, financial and legal experts are following the negotiations closely.”
Government is developing a petroleum exploration policy and law to facilitate oil exploration.