Aerial view of Cape Town from Signal Hill after sunset during the blue hour - South Africa modern city with spectacular nightscape panorama

Cape Town and Dubai battle over Africa’s energy future

This major skirmish could determine the outcome of Africa’s fight for energy freedom

Duggan Flanakin

It was quite a shock to Africa Energy Chamber Executive Director NJ Ayuk – and an even bigger shock to the Chamber – that the London-based Hyve group decided to move the annual Africa Oil Week from Cape Town, South Africa to Dubai. It was such a shock that the AEC shortly afterward announced it was sponsoring Africa Energy Week on the same weekend (November 8-12) as the (Out of) Africa Oil Week.

Mr. Ayuk works hard to ensure the interests of African companies and citizens in African energy ventures are widely recognized. He calls the dueling conferences a major confrontation between “Cancel Fossil Fuels” (Dubai) and “Protect our Oil and Gas Industry” (Cape Town).

The Cancel Fossil Fuels movement is currently being led by the International Energy Agency, which recently declared that all oil and gas exploration must cease immediately in order to achieve compliance with the Paris climate accords – and save the world from the mythical fires of hell on Earth.

The Biden-Harris Administration, the European Union, many Western banks and now even Western insurance companies claim the world faces a “climate catastrophe” if we “cling” to fossil fuels. They are lying, of course. There is no actual catastrophe on the horizon. And they know it!

The hysteria in the press (here, here, here and here, for example) is exceeded only by the screeching of Hollywood actors like Leonardo di Caprio and Don Cheadle. Newspaper reports tout compliance with Paris as a litmus test (one of many) for determining one’s humanity.

The hoopla has been so successful that a recent Pew Research Center poll found fully a third of Americans now favor a full-on extinction of fossil fuels and engines that run on them. Only 64% of Americans prefer keeping fossil fuels in the energy mix. This in a nation with 270 million gasoline-powered vehicles and who knows how many gas furnaces and water heaters!

Hardly a day goes by without some entity virtue-signaling disdain for fossil fuels. The media imply that “no fossil fuels by 2050” is “the future.” They are dead wrong. Litigation attorney Francis Menton hit the nail on the head in a recent real-world post: “The current legal onslaught is unlikely to limit world oil production significantly.”

Menton acknowledges the “multi-front legal onslaught” against the “major” oil producing companies (not countries!). The war is not confined to lawsuits. Other weapons include new laws, regulatory initiatives and proxy contests. However, as Menton demonstrates, the oft-targeted “major” Western oil companies (ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, Conoco Phillips) “are just not that big a part of world production.”

ExxonMobil, the largest of the group, was ranked just sixth, and Chevron was the only other “major” in the top ten. The top five are Saudi Aramco, Rosneft (Russia), Kuwait Petroleum, National Iranian Oil Company and China National. When is the last time you saw legal actions, major demonstrations or even public demands that those oil giants shut down?

Despite all the official kowtowing to Paris and even the IEA, not even all Western nations have any real intention of decarbonizing. Norway, for example, has openly stated its intention to increase its investments in offshore oil and gas operations in 2021. Of course, in an official “woke” statement, the Norwegian government promised to facilitate long-term economic growth in the petroleum industry “within the framework of our climate policy and our commitments under the Paris Agreement.” Huh?

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association bluntly stated that its members do not share “the assumption that OPEC members alone should account for more than half of oil and gas production for the world market in a 2050 perspective.” The reasons are obvious.

First, the result would be soaring energy prices and significant threats to global energy supplies. Second, Norway would lose revenues and jobs associated with industries like oil and gas, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and recovery of seabed minerals.

Africans like Ayuk share similar views: that their countries cannot afford to throw away their best chances for economic growth, full employment, infrastructure development and modern living standards – to satisfy the whims and demands of wealthy Europeans.

To underscore their determination, Canada-based Reconnaissance Energy Africa is on the verge of turning the Namibian part of the Kavango Basin into a world oil capital. Exploratory drilling within the 8.5-million-acre Kavango Basin has confirmed that “Namibia is endowed with an active onshore petroleum basin,” says Namibia Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo. The country hopes oil and gas development will bring economic stimulus, increased infrastructure, access to potable water, and investments in environmental protection and wildlife conservation.

Just last year the Russian firm Rosgeo signed an agreement with Equatorial Guinea for an historic geological mapping project – the first step toward developing a domestic oil and gas industry and finding other mineral resources. (Guinea withdrew from Africa Oil Week in favor of Africa Energy Week.)

An earlier report identified 70 crude oil and natural gas projects planned for startup in sub-Saharan Africa between 2019 and 2025; it also said Nigeria would be producing over a million barrels of oil per day (BOPD) by 2025.

Two of Africa’s five largest oil and gas projects are in Mozambique: the state-of-the-art Mozambique liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, which plans to tap into an estimated 75 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable offshore natural gas, and the 85-tcf Area 4 project, which includes the Coral and Rovuma LNG facilities.

BP just awarded a billion-dollar contract for construction of phase 1 of the 15-tcf Tortue Ahmeyim offshore LNG project, which benefits Mauritania and Senegal. Shell is planning to begin construction in 2022 of a $30 billion LNG liquefaction plant in Tanzania, which has over 57 tcf of recoverable natural gas reserves. And the East African Crude Oil Pipeline intends to transport crude oil from Kabaale-Hoima in Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga.

None of these energy-rich African nations is eager to submit to IEA demands, which seem to envision only existing OPEC nations as future producers and refiners. This, it appears, is the dividing line between Africa Oil Week and the new Africa Energy Week.

A leading theme of Africa Oil Week in Dubai is “Africa’s energy transition efforts toward a cleaner environment.” The Dubai event asks, “As the pressure mounts for regions, countries and companies to meet the Paris Agreement targets on eliminating carbon emissions, where does the continent stand?” (Resistance. Is. Futile. attendees want Africans to believe.)

Africa Energy Week has already garnered an impressive list of speakers, sponsors and attendees. It has a much different theme – and no lack of chutzpah. “Replacing Africa Oil Week” is the goal. The creators say their event “seeks to unite industry stakeholders, international speakers, and movers and shakers from the African oil and gas sector … to define and promote the African energy agenda through development, deal-making and private sector participation.”

Key topics at Africa Energy Week include making energy poverty history before 2030, the future of the African oil and gas industry, the role of women in energy, and opportunities and financial challenges. The AEC says this Africa-focused, in-person energy event is fully devoted to promoting African development and growth through African-held programs.

Ayuk says that the AOW’s move to Dubai provided an opportunity for Africans to stand up for African values. “We are going to fight for our future. We are not going to give in to this crowd. I am not worried about the attacks. We are going to stand for what is right.”

Duggan Flanakin is director of policy research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (  

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June 23, 2021 6:20 pm

Pretty stretched article when it claims Dubai is the champion of “Cancel Fossil Fuels”.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2021 6:51 pm

Pretty stretched comment that ignores it was a quote from Africa Energy Chamber Executive Director NJ Ayuk in reaction to moving the conference from Cape Town to Dubai.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2021 7:02 pm

Dubai is the venue location. No connection to Dubai being a champion of “Cancel Fossil Fuels”.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2021 7:41 pm

No doubt their championing depends on where the cancelling ocurrs.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 23, 2021 7:52 pm

Cancell FF … for Africa, Nick. The Middle East can produce o&g, indeed the UN is giving this region a monopoly to incentivize this type of coercion to stop Africa from producing FF. The ME’s reward.They get a cartelized licence to push prices sky high for a dozen years or so to take the advantage away from FF. It’s not going to work. Coal power is already producing prosperity for many formerly poor countries (Bangladesh has risen above 15% GDP growth over the past 7 or 8yrs, Pakistan 10% growth, massive coal resource development in India, Africa south of the Sahara ~3% growth).

Komerade Cube
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 24, 2021 4:53 am

Try to think here Nick. “Cancel fossil fuels” is a great tactic to put all the competition out of business.

Itdoesn't add up...
June 23, 2021 6:55 pm

The reality is that the oil majors will be driven to establish themselves in more favourable jurisdictions. The tax revenues they generate on upstream activities will move from their previous Western domiciles. They may simply be bought by the Chinese. Western security of supply will fall accordingly. Perhaps after the first one or two have gone, someone will notice. But already Chinese and Russian interests have been busy lining up a future as the next global majors.

Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
June 25, 2021 2:18 am

Correct! They will just move to countries that are more favorable to having their business.

June 23, 2021 7:33 pm

They, being the AGW cabal, didn’t count on Africa becoming an oil producing competitor and would like to squash that idea. The thought of Africa becoming a self sufficient and productive economy instead of a colony controlled by the One World Government doesn’t fit in their plans. It would be a significant and great turn of events for the continent.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  markl
June 23, 2021 7:39 pm

Theoretically, yes. Unfortunately, Africa used to be a huge exporter of food to the world. Since the Europeans left, with exactly the same resources, it’s in dire straights all over. I suppose it’s being blamed on CAGW, however.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
June 23, 2021 10:21 pm

In the UK I get more food from Africa than from Europe. Post the disgraceful behaviour of the European Union in the last years, many people in the UK will not buy from there.

Major countries involved are Morocco, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa.

Christopher Hanley
June 23, 2021 8:44 pm

“… The hysteria in the press (here, here, here and here, for example) is exceeded only by the screeching of Hollywood actors like Leonardo di Caprio and Don Cheadle …”.

I see Greta Thunberg is on the linked Variety list of ‘Climate Movers and Shakers in Entertainment’.
I have seen her only famous dramatic role so far and I believe she shows great potential as a future Judith Anderson, the famous Australian actress who seemed to specialise in lethal women roles such as Medea, Lady Macbeth and Mrs. Danvers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Hanley
June 23, 2021 11:56 pm

To get an idea of who’s behind what, I quickly surf for the banksters behind each. Africa oil Week site has no such disclosure, but they do provide you with a map of “Member Cities” To see which cities are members of the African Oil Week crowd, they supply this map:
For the African Energy Week crowd, we find the African Development Bank as sponsor and financier, and a lot of Africans running the show:

Now why would the people from African Oil Week spend two seconds caring about the interests of Africa? Just look at that map, and tell me… But they are going to “save” me by denying me access to locally-owned energy? Pull the other one, Bob, it’s got bells on!

Komerade Cube
June 24, 2021 4:51 am

>>IEA demands, which seem to envision only existing OPEC nations as future producers and refiners<<

gee, who could be pulling the strings here? All this CAGW / Climate Change nonsense highlights the worst aspects of human behavior. Everyone is for sale.

Steve Richards
June 24, 2021 6:33 am

I didn’t realise the size of exploration, production and potential in Africa! This is really good.

Michael in Dublin
June 24, 2021 7:18 am

Cape Town is a beautiful city with a much better climate than Dubai but it has very little to display in the way of energy production bar an old Nuclear Plant 1940MW (1984) and a small pumped storage power station 180MW (1979).

Perhaps politics is playing a role? Had Mandela been alive with his party in control of Cape Town and the province, perhaps the decision would have gone the other way. Perhaps money and fatter brown envelopes is playing an even bigger role?

H. D. Hoese
June 24, 2021 7:32 am

At least Chevron is interested in the first. Oil companies have a long history producing, using and transporting carbon dioxide. And Texas is studying sequestration.

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage hub development on the Gulf Coast
T.A. Meckel, A.P. Bump, S.D. Hovorka, R.H. Trevino. 19 May 2021.

June 25, 2021 2:02 am

The onslaught against Western oil companies will only mean other oil producers in Russia and elsewhere will happily take up the slack!

And people who have access to abundant energy – the socialist elites in Europe and the US – attempting to deny energy to those in Africa who do not have it, are despicable racists oppressing black people.

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