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Sultan Al Jaber is the Right Leader for United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) (By NJ Ayuk)

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Sultan Al Jaber is the Right Leader for United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) (By NJ Ayuk)

Sultan Al Jaber is the Right Leader for United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) (By NJ Ayuk)

Al Jaber is more than an oil company leader, he’s also the chairman of the rapidly growing global renewable energy company, Masdar.

The backlash in recent days about the selection of Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), to serve as president of the next United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) has been quite… dramatic.

Sultan Al Jaber is the Right Leader for United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) (By NJ Ayuk)

The decision to have him lead the conference has been described as “a fox watching the henhouse,” asking “arms dealers to lead peace talks,” and “putting the head of a tobacco company in charge of negotiating an anti-smoking treaty.”

Tasneem Essop, the executive director of Climate Action Network International, went further, saying,” He cannot preside over a process that is tasked to address the climate crisis with such a conflict of interest, heading an industry that is responsible for the crisis itself. If he does not step down as CEO, it will be tantamount to a full scale capture of the UN climate talks by a petrostate national oil company and its associated fossil fuel lobbyists.”

And Tzeporah Berman, chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, told ABC News that the selection of Al Jaber to oversee COP28 is a “devastating blow to the climate negotiations at a critical moment in history.”

I could go on, but instead, I’d like to describe why I think those views are wrong-headed and why the African Energy Chamber supports Al Jaber’s selection.

Frankly, I’ve seen rhetoric like this before, only it was about the “grave dangers posed by fossil fuels”, the “evils of the oil and gas industry”, and how “Africa’s vulnerable populations must be protected from ongoing oil and gas production” and their role in triggering climate-related disasters.

I realize that the protests we’re seeing in Al Jaber’s case are based on the belief that, like oil and water, the petroleum industry and meaningful climate change prevention simply don’t mix.

But that assumption is false. If we’re going to have a just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, we’ll need both. We’ll need fossil fuels to ensure energy security and drive industrialization in developing nations, even as the world works to pull together the necessary investments, infrastructure, and governance to make a world fueled by renewable energy work.

Al Jaber understands that. He’s witnessed the painful results of divesting from fossil fuels prematurely — just look at the energy crisis in Europe — and he’s calling for a more pragmatic approach to protecting the world from climate change. He’s calling for an approach that doesn’t worsen energy poverty and hinder economic growth. As he brilliantly wrote in August, “Our ultimate goal should be to hold back emissions, not progress.”

Yes, Al Jaber is an oil and gas industry leader, and ADNOC has no intention of stopping production in the short term. But, then again, drilling is not the world-threatening activity that environmental organizations make it out to be. And Al Jaber is more than an oil company leader, he’s also the chairman of the rapidly growing global renewable energy company, Masdar. And he has spoken openly about the importance of significantly curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to all of that, Al Jaber is a good man and a friend to Africa. I am certain that he is an excellent choice to lead COP28.

Bringing Renewables to the World

The renewable energy company that Al Jaber leads, Masdar, is a model of the important role the petroleum industry can take in moving the world closer to widespread renewable energy usage. The company was formed with the goal of diversifying the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) economy and energy industry, and its shareholders include ADNOC, Mubadala Investment Company, and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA).

Today, Masdar is active in over 40 countries and invested in projects valued at more than USD20 billion.

A few examples of the company’s impact, just in the last few weeks, include:

  • The company has signed an agreement with Kyrgyzstan’s energy ministry to develop clean energy projects with the capacity to generate 1 gigawatt (GW). The first of these projects will be a 200-megawatt solar energy plant set to begin operations in 2026.
  • Masdar signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with four Dutch companies to explore strategies for establishing a green hydrogen supply chain from Abu Dhabi to the Netherlands. This ties in with Masdar’s plans to begin focusing on green hydrogen to achieve 100 GW renewable energy capacity and green hydrogen production of 1 million tons per annum annually by 2030.
  • Masdar signed an MOU and a joint development agreement with Zambian utility, Zesco, to develop 2GW of solar PV in Zambia. Phase One of the projects is 500MW of large-scale solar PV. Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema says the projects with Masdar will provide USD2 billion of capital to the country.
  • Also on Jan. 18, Masdar signed an agreement with Ethiopia to jointly develop a 500MW solar project.

ADNOC is demonstrating a solid commitment to protecting the environment, too. Earlier this year, it announced plans to invest UDE15 billion in decarbonization projects by 2030, including clean power, carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency and reduction of routine gas flaring.

Meanwhile, Al Jaber has made it clear where he stands on emissions and climate change: He recognizes the need to get a handle on global emissions.

“We are way off track,” Al Jaber said Jan. 14 during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week , hosted by Masdar. “The world is playing catch-up when it comes to the key Paris goal of holding temperatures down to 1.5C, and the hard reality is that to achieve this goal, global emissions must fall 43% by 2030.”

Pragmatism is Not Our Enemy

But the reason Al Jaber is perfectly suited to serve as COP28 president— and is causing an uproar among environmental organizations — is he doesn’t believe the need to reduce global emissions is cause for irrational decisions. He supports continuing oil and gas production for now, rather than a premature rush to renewables.

His stance is based on a reasoned understanding of the repercussions of giving up fossil fuels too quickly.

“Recent events have shown that unplugging the current energy system before we have built a sufficiently robust alternative puts both economic and climate progress at risk – and calls into question whether we can ensure a just transition that is equitable to all,” Al Jaber wrote in an August op-ed.

“What’s needed is a realistic new strategy that is practical, pro-growth, and pro-climate,” he continued. “The strategy needs to appreciate the complexity of energy and industrial systems, and that the scale of the transition required is colossal, requiring greater alignment and collaboration on everything from capital allocation to product design, public policy, and behavioral change. This means examining the demand side of the energy system first.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

But I would add that Africa’s energy industry, and its potential to minimize energy poverty and drive economic growth, have been hindered by non-government organizations (NGOs) exerting immense pressure against investing in our continent’s oil and gas projects.

The UAE made a sound choice when it selected Al Jaber to lead COP28, and I hope it won’t let the voices of environmental organizations, no matter how loud, bully it into changing course.

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Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC) at the centre of regional transmission expansion: Tanzania Energy Cooperation Summit 2024

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Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC) at the centre of regional transmission expansion

Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC) at the centre of regional transmission expansion: Tanzania Energy Cooperation Summit 2024

Confirmed as one of the most stable and important investment destinations on the continent, Tanzania prepares to host the fifth annual Tanzania Energy Cooperation Summit (TECS) from 31 January to 1 February 2024 in Arusha, home of the East African Community (EAC).

Investors from across industry, finance and government are convening to showcase Tanzania’s potential. Potential that is epitomised by a country now ranked third in sub-Saharan Africa for future investment, that is expected to see 6% GDP growth by 2025, and that has seen hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of investment, targeted towards infrastructure, hydropower, LNG and solar projects in recent years.

Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC) at the centre of regional transmission expansion

Ranked by KPMG behind only South Africa and Nigeria, Tanzania has confirmed its status when it comes to trade and investment.

The nation was cited for its strategic location to the east of the continent, its abundance of natural resources, and its recent investment spike, especially in the power sector. A first on-grid 50MW solar power plant, a $300 million investment into hydropower, a $42 billion LNG project formed by Shell, Equinor and Exxon Mobil, and almost $7 billion injected into infrastructure, confirms its attractiveness both in Africa, and globally.

Organised by EnergyNet, TECS24 will not only highlight these success stories but look at future trade and generation projects poised to transform the country and region further. Challenges around financing and guarantees will also be brought to the fore, to ensure that momentum isn’t lost and that the country’s power sector continues to go from strength to strength.

Alongside major investors, stakeholders attending include national ministers from Tanzania, Malawi and Ethiopia, as well as heads of national utilities, including Tanzania’s Managing Director of TANESCO, Gissima Nyamo-Hanga. Speakers from Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Zambia’s ZESCO will also be present. They, alongside representatives from the public and private sectors, DFIs – including AfDB, BII, World Bank Group and ATIDI – and multilaterals, will descend on Arusha for an intimate, high-level business retreat like no other.

With an emphasis on Tanzania’s’ position as a regional energy enabler, topics being brought to the table include Tanzania’s economic outlook and energy development potential, as well as plotting the best way to build a regional power market. Public-private partnerships in transmission projects will also be on the agenda, in addition to DFIs, governance and regulations, and the vital role of renewables. Attendees will be invited to offer ideas around building better regional interconnection, more robust frameworks for trade and investment, and ultimately to form a roadmap for regional energy access moving forward.

“Tanzania’s positioning on the continent has made it pivotal to trade. With connections between south and east and also to the rest of the world, the country has always had the potential to be a trailblazer for industrial growth – and now we’re seeing how this potential will be realised. It’s therefore hugely exciting to showcase Tanzania’s growth and to make sure the opportunity and momentum continues.” said Simon Gosling, Managing Director, EnergyNet.

He continued, “We’re also delighted to be hosting the summit in Arusha, giving everyone the time and space to deep-dive into the sector’s most pressing topics.”

“With Tanzania being one of our founding member countries, we are keen to do more in support of the country’s energy sector goals. Building on the progress made at last year’s event in Dar es Salaam, we hope that TECS24 will provide greater clarity on the proposed role of the private sector in the energy sector and how DFIs – particularly multilateral insurers and guarantors like ATIDI – can be supportive of such efforts and the wider energy transition,” commented Obbie Banda, Underwriter & Acting RLSF Coordinator at the African Trade & Investment Development Insurance (ATIDI).

Aleem Tharani, Co-Head for Infrastructure Sector Group (Africa), Bowmans and Head of Projects, Energy & Infrastructure (Africa), concluded: “The 5th Tanzania Energy Cooperation Summit marks a pivotal moment for Africa’s energy sector. By uniting investors, government entities and industry specialists, we’re fostering dialogues crucial for advancing Tanzania’s energy roadmap, prioritising gas and renewables, and enhancing regional transmission. Bowmans is proud to sponsor this summit, recognising its significance in shaping Africa’s energy future and strengthening public-private partnerships.”

 

FACILITATING ENERGY INVESTMENT IN FAST-GROWING ECONOMIES – EnergyNet has produced investment forums and executive dialogues for Africa and Latin America’s power sectors for the last 25 years – in Europe, the USA, Asia and across Africa and Latin America.

We work with governments and national utilities to facilitate investment summits where credible international investors can build relationships with public sector stakeholders to advance access to power.

Best known for the Africa Energy Forum, the longest-serving business development meeting place for senior-level decision makers in Africa’s power sector, other leading investment summits we provide strategic perspectives on the investment landscape and project preparation include the Tanzania Energy Cooperation Summit, H2 Africa, Offshore Technology Africa, Powering Africa Summit, Latin American Energy Forum and Latin American & Caribbean Gas Conference and Exhibition. YES! Youth Energy Summit and YES! Youth Energy Day are part of the portfolio, with a focus on creating a platform and network to boost the skills, connections and business readiness of a new generation of African energy leaders

Having this focus on public and private sector partnerships provides us with a valuable lens through which we can offer independent perspectives and support the business development activities of companies from around the world operating in these fast-growing markets. Our team talks daily with stakeholders across Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean to support these insights, so relationships and investor insights are our business and our passion.

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MSGBC Conference to Feature Roadshow on Mauritanian Exploration Opportunities

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MSGBC Conference to Feature Roadshow on Mauritanian Exploration Opportunities

MSGBC Conference to Feature Roadshow on Mauritanian Exploration Opportunities.

A special session on Mauritania’s exploration prospects during the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2023 conference will delve into a range of topics, from geology to investment incentives and ongoing developments.

Mauritania is making great strides to attract foreign investment across its untapped upstream market, introducing a 15-block offshore licensing round; strengthening geological surveying and data acquisition; while promoting collaboration between Mauritanian and global partners. The country’s upstream prospects will be further explored during the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2023 conference and exhibition (https://apo-opa.info/479O0lz), scheduled for November 21-22 this year.

MSGBC Conference to Feature Roadshow on Mauritanian Exploration Opportunities

In an exclusive panel session titled, ‘Focus on Mauritania: Road Show on Exploration & Opportunities’, a suite of Mauritanian policymakers, global E&P investors and regional stakeholders will engage in pivotal discussions and strategic planning on Mauritania’s upstream sector. For potential players looking at tapping into one of the world’s final frontiers for offshore exploration, the Mauritanian exploration roadshow is a not-to-be-missed event.

The Mauritanian Coastal Basin, an area with an extensive 2D and 3D seismic data coverage – covering more than 100,000 km, respectively – has become a focal point for exploration in recent years. The discovery of the Chinguetti oilfield in 2001 marked the opening of the tertiary petroleum system in the basin, while the 2015 GTA gas discovery in Block C8 unveiled deeper Cretaceous petroleum systems. These breakthroughs, coupled with growing global demand for oil and gas, emphasize the country’s evolving energy potential and growing prominence, and the Mauritanian roadshow will provide insight into the country’s unique offshore geological features.

The exploration session will serve as a bridge connecting government decision-makers, data experts, and industry players, providing a unique platform to exchange insights, share vital information, and outline the future trajectory of energy exploration and development in Mauritania. The panel of experts will delve into a series of essential topics that collectively form a holistic view of Mauritania’s exploration perspectives.

Serving to connect investors with Mauritanian opportunities, the session will provide an overview of Mauritania’s business environment and investor safeguards, showcasing the country’s commitment to creating a secure investment climate. The legal investment framework and the benefits and exemptions in promotional zones will be highlighted, emphasizing how these incentives can foster business growth. Correspondingly, details of the country’s latest bid licensing round, which features 15 offshore blocks, will be provided, connecting new players to the country’s promising yet untapped acreage.

Under efforts to promote exploration and production, the Mauritanian Government revised the legal and regulatory framework, implementing tax rules and exemptions to entice foreign and regional players. Through the Petroleum Code – introduced in 1998 and revised in 2011 – the Government sought to incentivize foreign investment in upstream activities, enhancing transparency, clarity and productivity across the hydrocarbons market. Regulatory revisions continue to be made, and in addition to geological insight, the Mauritanian session this November will provide a comprehensive overview of the country’s investment environment, equipping potential investors with the information they need to make informed decisions.

Efforts to enhance investment attractiveness have already translated into several key milestones, with a number of foreign players exploring the offshore market. International heavyweights to the likes of bp, Kosmos Energy, TotalEnergies, Shell, and many more now operate in this region, signaling the growing significance of Mauritania in the global energy landscape. These and many other players are looking at fostering new partnerships, and the session will offer insights into promising prospects and collaborations, illustrating the exciting potential of Mauritania’s energy sector.

MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2023 is a crucial milestone for the energy sector, bringing together key stakeholders, policymakers, and industry experts to discuss the most recent exploration opportunities in the region. The Mauritanian exploration roadshow, for its part, acts as a catalyst for information exchange and partnerships, and will greatly contribute to the MSGBC region’s long-term energy success.

Organized by Energy Capital & Power, the conference takes place under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani and in partnership with Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines; the Mauritanian Oil and Mining Company; Petrosen; COS-Petrogaz; and the African Energy Chamber. Register now to secure your place!

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CrossBoundary Access open sources project financing tools used to finance over $80m of mini grids in Africa

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CrossBoundary Access open sources project financing tools used to finance over $80m of mini grids in Africa

CrossBoundary Access open sources project financing tools used to finance over $80m of mini grids in Africa

CrossBoundary Access, in partnership with Shell Foundation, the UK-registered charity, is open sourcing the project financing tools they have used to structure and finance over $80m of mini-grid projects.

Mini grids are the least cost method to provide electricity to 260 million people in Africa and have a critical role in achieving universal energy access on the continent; However, mini grids are complex infrastructure assets. It typically takes 12-24 months to structure and finance a mini grid project; CrossBoundary Access (CrossBoundary.com/Access) is open sourcing the project financing tools they have used to finance over $80m of mini-grid projects to accelerate universal energy access in Africa.

CrossBoundary Access open sources project financing tools used to finance over $80m of mini grids in Africa

CrossBoundary Access, in partnership with Shell Foundation, the UK-registered charity, is open sourcing the project financing tools they have used to structure and finance over $80m of mini-grid projects. CrossBoundary Access has shared a project finance model on its website today (https://apo-opa.info/49gLCLC) and will share template project financing term sheets later this year. CrossBoundary Access believes open sourcing financial tools and approaches across the sector will accelerate the flow of capital needed to achieve universal energy access in Africa.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that the number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa without power – 600 million – will be largely unchanged by 2030. Mini-grids – self-sufficient electricity grids that can serve households and businesses – have a critical role to play in bridging the gap. They are the least-cost method to bring electricity to over 260 million people.

However, mini grids are complex infrastructure assets that typically take 12-24 months to finance. Mini grids are small (typically less than $500,000 in capex), have unfixed long-term cash flows such as revenue, diesel expenditure, battery replacements, etc., and are typically mixed with other non-infrastructure assets and activities. The process of ring-fencing mini-grid assets into standalone investment vehicles, and fixing and allocating revenues, costs, and risks over a typical 10–20-year infrastructure investment horizon is a highly intensive process. Detailed, interlocking financial models and project contracts are required to create bankable mini-grid projects.

CrossBoundary Access is open sourcing the two interlocking financing tools it has developed over the last 6 years – a financial model and project term sheets – to accelerate the flow of capital into the mini-grid sector. The open-source movement was first pioneered by the software industry in the 1990s. CrossBoundary Access believes the energy access sector should adopt its own open source model to accelerate industry collaboration. Continuous sharing and improvement of the sector’s financing tools is needed to attract and deploy capital into mini grids.

Read more on why CrossBoundary Access and Shell Foundation believe open source can accelerate universal energy access in Africa in this article (https://apo-opa.info/47fIoGf).

Terry Otinga, Senior Investment Associate and Open-Source lead at CrossBoundary Access, says, “We are excited to share these tools and are especially eager to exchange lessons learnt with developers and investors. This will bring us a step closer to closing the energy access gap in Africa. That’s what open source is about.”

Kwaku Owusu-AchawBusiness Development Director at the Shell Foundation, says, “We are thrilled to partner with CrossBoundary Access to share this innovative financing approach. We hope that this is useful for the sector and gives developers the tools to raise capital and improve energy access in Africa.”

Humphrey Wireko, Managing Director at CrossBoundary Access, says, “We appreciate Shell Foundation’s support in this initiative. In order to reach the 300 million people in Africa best served by mini-grids, we need a lot more mini-grids being built and more investors providing capital to this sector. Hopefully this helps make that happen.”

About CrossBoundary Access:
CrossBoundary Access (CrossBoundary.com/Access) is Africa’s first blended finance platform for mini grids. CrossBoundary Access uses an innovative blended finance approach to invest in mini-grids and provide 24/7 grid-quality power to households and businesses in rural Africa. CrossBoundary Access reached first close in June 2022 with $25 million from ARCH Emerging Markets Partners Limited, Bank of America, and Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund. In September 2023, the platform secured an additional $10 million from AfDB’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). CrossBoundary Access continues to raise and deploy a total of $150 million of blended project finance over the next three years to bring clean energy to one million people in Africa. CrossBoundary Access is a member of the CrossBoundary Group. https://apo-opa.info/3skZIeb

About Shell Foundation:
Shell Foundation (https://ShellFoundation.org) is an endowed, UK-registered charity that catalyses clean energy innovation and unlocks inclusive investments in Africa and India, empowering millions of underserved customers – of which half are women – to earn a living income. Shell Foundation, with co-funding from the UK government through the FCDO, funded the open source project to encourage more investments in mini-grids, which can power whole communities, helping small business owners, rural agricultural households, and urban transporters, the key focus customer groups for the Foundation.

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