The African Energy Chamber met with Equatorial Guinea’s Vice Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E. Domingo Mba Esono, to discuss how the country can strengthen its investment environment and the role African Energy Week will play in securing new capital for Equatorial Guinean energy projects.
As the voice of the African energy sector, the African Energy Chamber (AEC), remains committed to facilitating investment across the continent in pursuit of making energy poverty history by 2030. This week, the Chamber met with Equatorial Guinea’s newly appointed Vice Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E. Domingo Mba Esono, where discussions centered on strengthening both the country’s and the CEMAC region’s attractiveness as an investment destination.
After congratulating H.E. Esono’s appointment as Vice Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons in February 2023, the AEC went on to discuss the organization’s openness and willingness to support the Ministry as it moves to unlock sizable and long-term growth across the natural resource sector. As a country rich with oil (1.1 billion barrels) and natural gas (1.5 trillion cubic feet), Equatorial Guinea is committed to positioning itself as a regional hub, with initiatives such as the Gas Mega Hub – a comprehensive framework that aims to monetize offshore regional gas reserves while consolidating the country’s position as Africa’s top processing hub – representing key drivers of investment and global player participation.
While the initiative has been largely successful to date, significant levels of investment are still needed if the country is to unlock the full potential of its resources, while scaling up production capacity and exports. As such, the AEC-Equatorial Guinea meeting discussed the need for the country to adapt its hydrocarbon regulations to attract more investment in the sector, particularly as the country begins to compete with other African nations and regions which have more flexible regimes.
Forming a key member of the wider CEMAC region, Equatorial Guinea’s restrictions regarding securing investment can be somewhat attributed to unfavorable policies implemented under regional law. The AEC has called for amendments to CEMAC regulations to enable countries such as Equatorial Guinea to attract the investment they need, but domestic regulatory reforms are also needed to enhance competitiveness. During the meeting, both the AEC and H.E. Esono emphasized this very point while highlighting the role the upcoming Hydrocarbons Law is set to play in incentivizing investment, with terms and policies implemented under this important piece of legislature likely to accelerate capital commitments across the country.
“Equatorial Guinea’s oil and gas resources, as well as its critical role as a regional hydrocarbon hub, represent the solution to addressing energy poverty in Africa, kickstarting a new era of industrialization while unlocking long-term and sustainable socioeconomic growth. While the country has been largely successful with regards to monetizing both domestic and regional offshore resources, opportunities for sectoral expansion call for heightened foreign investment as well as global players participation. As such, there has never been a more critical time for the country to establish an enabling environment for investment,” stated Leoncio Amada NZE, Executive President of the African Energy Chamber, CEMAC region, adding that, “The country needs to make some sacrifices in terms of regulations that will favor investment. By putting in place attractive fiscal terms, Equatorial Guinea will be well positioned to maximize the full potential of the entire region’s energy resources.”
Currently, Equatorial Guinea – under the leadership of the newly appointed Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E. Antonio Oburu Ondo, as well as Vice Minister H.E. Osono – has set forth an ambitious exploration and production agenda that hinges on the country’s ability to secure foreign investment. As declines in legacy fields begin to pose a threat to production, the country is seeking fresh capital and partnerships with the aim of increasing exploration and adding new reserves to declining and mature fields. Just this year, the country signed two production sharing contracts (PSC) with Africa Oil Corporation and an additional PSC with Panoro Energy, a step in the right direction towards improving exploration. However, with much more exploration required to recover production levels, strengthening the enabling environment is critical.
As Equatorial Guinea improves its environment for investment, the upcoming edition of the continent’s premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW) – taking place in Cape Town from October 16-20 – will be key for facilitating new investment in the expanding market. As regulations such as the Hydrocarbon Law are implemented, the country’s attractiveness for foreign capital will increase, and AEW 2023 will ensure global investments and E&P players alike are connected with these opportunities. With H.E. Esono indicating his willingness to participate at the next leg of the AEC’s investment roadshow – the Invest in African Energy Dubai, taking place on March 30 – the country is positioning itself for long-term partnerships on the back of an enabling environment.