SNIM-Sponsored MSGBC Session Explores Strategies to Strengthen Downstream Operations

downstream operations

The MSGBC region’s downstream industry represents a highly attractive investment opportunity owing to rising regional demand, industry-focused policies and the introduction of local oil and gas to the market in 2024.

During the region’s premier energy conference, MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2023, a panel discussion titled, Meeting Increasing Demand: A Renewed Approach to West Africa’s Downstream Sector, examined developments across the regional downstream industry, challenges faced, and strategies for expanding infrastructure. The session was sponsored by Mauritania’s national industrial and mining company, Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière.

Across the MSGBC region, the demand for energy is growing rapidly, and according to Rus Jiri, Sales Director Africa at Nueman Esser, this has resulted in an “increased demand for refinery feedstock.” With the 100,000 barrel per day Sangomar oilfield development getting ready to come online in 2024, the region seems ready to accelerate refining and advance distribution. However, despite this opportunity, several challenges persist across the market.

Specifically, the energy transition has seen investment in oil and gas decline while current refining facilities are in need of upgrades to adapt to changing feedstock specifications.

Marième Ndoye Decraene, Director General of Senegal’s primary refinery, Société Africaine de Raffinage (SAR), explained that “Currently, we are able to satisfy 50% of the market in terms of energy production. We have initiated upgrades to the refinery and implemented technical solutions to treat the heavier Sangomar oil compared to the oil currently imported from Nigeria. We are working with Africa Corporation Bank to secure financing for these projects.”

Ndoye added that, “We will benefit from pooling investments through regional roadmaps. We need to revamp our refineries in an innovative way, which is why we need financing, particularly sustainable and green financing.”

Jiri introduced the role training and capacity building plays, highlighting how refinery upgrades can translate into job opportunities. Jiri added that for Nueman Esser, “We are offering new technologies to meet changing standards while revamping operations and infrastructure, which brings new opportunities for Africans to be trained.”

Mohamed Filali, Founder and Managing Director of Jurisfiscal, added that revitalizing the downstream sector and promoting cross-border collaboration will be crucial for the transition to be fair and just across the MSGBC region. Filali stated that “Mauritania can be strong in the area of the downstream business by enhancing cooperation with Senegal.”

Expanding on the strategies which MSGBC countries can adopt to attract downstream investments, Filali, stated that countries need to stick to their macroeconomic plans and find ways to maximize the flow of capital in line with their growth plans and the availability of resources. He said “Introducing tax holidays will not work as other countries will continue to tax industries and benefit while you lose. Mauritania can maximize the use of green hydrogen for green steel and attract investments from it.”

Meanwhile, Mohamed Mansare, Upstream Director, SONAP, Guinea, pointed out some of the effective ways Guinea has been able to develop infrastructure projects. Mansare stated that “Guinea has become a country that can finance a number of projects without external assistance, such as the two oil depots under construction by SONAP in Kôdjaran. Guinea has successfully controlled its inflation, and today, we are still in search of oil and gas, but it is certain that the importation of hydrocarbons can be done with our neighbours.”

As such, opportunities for investing in the MSGBC downstream industry are abundant and investors were encouraged to engage with countries across the region.

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Energy Capital & Power

Energy Capital & Power is the African continent’s leading investment platform for the energy sector. Through a series of events, online content and investment reports, we unite the entire energy value chain – from oil and gas exploration to renewable power – and facilitate global and intra-African investment and collaboration.