1. About the Africa Oil Governance Summit (AOGS).

The Africa Oil Governance Summit (AOGS) is the flagship programme of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP). Instituted in 2015, the AOGS is convened annually in Accra, the capital of Ghana. The main goal of the Summit is to shed light and address pertinent governance and development issues pertaining to the management and use of oil and gas resources across the African continent. The AOGS thus creates an avenue for, and brings together, stakeholders in the oil and gas industry across Africa and beyond to deliberate on efficient and effective approaches to engender sustainable and inclusive development through exploitation of Africa’s oil and gas resources.

Speakers, panelists, and participants are drawn from the public sector (government/state institutions), the private sector (local and foreign companies/businesses in the upstream and midstream petroleum sector), academia, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), development agencies/partners, and local and international media. The Summit has, since 2015, recorded about 1,100 direct participants with a yearly average of about 250. This excludes virtual participants who are engaged through both the electronic and social media.

Topical issues discussed at previous Summits centered around the following themes:

  • “Africa rising as oil curse beckons for most countries – Is good governance the missing link between oil wealth and development?” (2015).
  • “Rising through the rubbles of oil price shocks; strategies for inclusive growth and sustainable development” (2016).
  • “Maximizing the benefits of petroleum resources in Africa; the role of open contracting for efficient negotiations, revenue capture and effective revenue utilization” (2017), and
  • “Harnessing the potential of local content for economic growth and inclusive development” (2018).
  • “Optimizing oil and gas resources in Africa: the role of new discoveries in the Continent’s development agenda” (2019).
  1. An Exposition to the theme for the 2020 Africa Oil Governance Summit

There is a growing sense of urgency around climate action across the globe. Calls for energy transition from fossil fuel to relatively cleaner energy sources have intensified in anticipation of the UN-led 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in November 2021. The agenda of COP26 is for parties to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to assess progress on tackling climate change. Nations, businesses, investors and advocacy groups have stepped up the fight against climate change. The United Kingdom (U.K) has legislated its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and this commitment currently drives its foreign policy on aid and development. By 2030 and 2035, the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles will end in the UK and Denmark respectively. Major oil and gas companies are also revising their business and operational models to embrace net zero carbon ambitions as climate concerns mount. BP has an ambition to become a carbon neutral company by 2050. In the first quarter of 2020, BP announced its intentions to invest more in cleaner energy and less in fossil fuels over the next three decades. Pro-climate investments are on the rise, and investors are demanding oil and gas companies to align their business models with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Oil and gas companies that have failed to adapt quickly have lost investors amidst the covid-19-induced financial constraints. In August 2020, Norway’s largest private money manager – Storebrand Asset Management – divested more than $47 million in 21 companies and decided against future investment in 6 companies as part of implementing its climate change policy. Most of these companies are oil and gas companies, including ExxonMobil Corp (lost $12.3 million), Chevron Corp (lost $10 million) and ConocoPhillips (lost approximately $4 million). The Norwegian money manager has announced that it would “… no longer invest in companies that earn more than 5% revenue from coal and oil sands, or that lobby against the Paris Agreement …”. According to Storebrand, such companies are less attractive because, they are not on track to transitioning to a lower carbon economy and are too risky in the long term. The drive for net zero has taken wave beyond the energy industry. Influential energy consumers and tech giants like Google, Apple, and Tesla are making efforts to move the world towards net zero. The efforts of beverage companies such as Coca Cola may seem unusual but defines the extent of businesses’ commitment to the fight against climate change.

Addressing climate concerns is a common, but differentiated, responsibility of nations around the world, and this reflects in the differences in exuberance on advocacy against fossil fuel extraction in Western countries compared to Sub-Sahara African countries.

  1. Oil and gas and Africa’s economic development

In spite of the advocacy against the use of hydrocarbons by Western countries, oil and gas resources will remain relevant to Africa’s economic development for the next three decades. Fossil fuel will contribute 31% to power generation on the continent between 2020 and 2050, and thus contribute to bridging the electricity access gap for about 700 million people, who may not have access to electricity by 2040 if electrification  coverage does not meet population growth. The continent sees its abundant liquefied natural gas resources as transitioning fuel to power the industrialization agenda. The resource also creates direct and indirect opportunities for local businesses and labor (both skilled and unskilled) through local content development and linkages. Moreover, revenues from oil and gas extraction and exports have financed public goods such as education and health in oil-producing African countries.  While African countries have subscribed to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and are making efforts at achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) across various priority sectors, it seems impossible for any oil-producing African country to limit or halt oil and gas production in order to meet climate change demands. There is however an investment twist to Africa’s decision.

  1. Can Africa ignore the climate change effects of oil and gas extraction?

Oil and gas extraction alone contributes 15% of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Africa’s 10% share of global oil production is expected to rise as prospects for oil and gas increases on the continent. Oil-producing African countries see the resource as strategic to energy security in anticipation of exponential growth in energy needs that will accompany the continent’s demographic shift to becoming the world’s most populous continent beginning from 2023. Meanwhile, Africa has been dealing with the effects of climate change since 1970. According to the AfDB, 7 out of 10 countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are in Africa. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that the continent may plunge deeper into poverty and vulnerability if global warming increases between a 1.5 Degrees Celsius and 2 Degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Climate change affects the agriculture sector which provides employment and livelihood to the poor whilst threatening food security, water supply, and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDSs) on the continent. Although the continent has historically emitted negligible Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), African countries cannot ignore the effects of oil and gas extraction on the climate. An optimal approach will be for African governments and businesses to simultaneously extract resources in pursuit of the 4th industrial revolution whilst taking climate action within and outside the oil and gas industry in order not to miss out on the on-going green revolution and the opportunities it presents.

  1. Effective climate finance is key to successful climate action in Africa

By November 2019, 49 African countries had ratified their NDCs. Financing is, however, a major stumbling block to achieving these NDCs. It is estimated that African countries will need about $3 trillion by 2030 to implement their NDCs, and also that by 2050, Africa will need about $50 billion annually to adapt to climate change. The cost of climate change adaptation and mitigation is likely to rise if countries must increase commitment to climate action within the oil and gas industry. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest fund established in 2010 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to channel funding to developing countries who are party to the Paris Climate Change Agreement. A 2019 review of the GCF, however, found that “… lack of predictability, transparency, and efficiency on the part of the GCF has hindered countries’ abilities to make informed, country-led decisions about how to engage with the Fund.” There is limited multi-stakeholder engagement on project planning, implementation, and reporting in the course of the GCF investment cycle.  Also, while only one-third of the 38 eligible countries have accessed the funding, country programmes have not delivered on their aims. Climate financing must be effective and timely to achieve climate targets in Africa.

  1. Active citizenry participation in climate action and oil governance in Africa

Oil and gas resources in African countries are managed on behalf of, and in trust for, the citizens of oil-producing countries. Being the direct beneficiaries of oil and gas extraction, citizens must be informed about decisions that affect their interest in order that they have a voice in how the resource is managed. More efforts have been made on active citizenry participation in contract governance and revenue management, but very little on climate action. Equipping citizens with the right knowledge and tools to understand and participate in the climate change discourse, and on how it directly impacts on their wellbeing, could be a gateway to strengthen transparency, accountability and innovation on climate efforts, inside and outside the oil and gas sector.

  1. Objectives of the summit

The Summit seeks to make climate change response a key feature of oil governance in Africa by taking a holistic view at the various concrete actions that African governments, climate financiers, the business community, and people living in Africa can take to enable Africa feature prominently in the green revolution.

The specific objectives of the Summit are to,

  1. Support African governments to set climate action agenda for the oil and gas industry in anticipation of COP26
  2. Increase knowledge on climate finance options ahead of COP26 negotiations
  3. Explore how businesses can decarbonize their activities in upstream oil and gas industry and support Africa’s green revolution efforts
  4. Increase citizens’ knowledge about climate change to support climate action in and outside Africa’s oil and gas sector.
  1. Key output

After the Summit, ACEP will collaborate with experts to, based on key points from the Summit, develop a policy document that outlines important areas of agreement on climate action in and outside the oil and gas industry, and implementation options, to aid African governments in their collective negotiations at COP26.

  1. Key outcome

African governments, through their foreign Ministries, will be engaged to adopt the policy document and commit to include same in key areas of negotiations at COP26.

The document will also inform Ghana and other African countries in updating their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

  1. Format of the Summit

There will be four panel sessions in two days:

An expert panel to discuss government plans on climate action amidst oil and gas extraction. The key questions are

  • Beyond NDCs, how should African governments address climate change effects of oil and gas extraction?
  • What options/opportunities do African governments have (in and outside the oil and gas industry) to effectively address the climate effects of oil and gas extraction and use?
  • What should be the role of National Oil Companies in decarbonizing the oil and gas industry?
  • What should be the common negotiation targets of oil-producing African countries at COP26?

A climate finance panel to discuss financing options for decarbonization agenda in Africa. The key questions are

  • How does the state of climate finance expertise in Africa affect access to the Green Climate Fund?
  • What alternative effective options are there for climate financing aside the Green Climate Fund to support climate action in the oil and gas industry?
  • What more can developed countries do to support attainment of NDCs and climate action in Africa’s oil and gas industry?

A business panel to discuss options available to oil and gas companies in decarbonizing their operations. The key questions are

  • Who should be liable for Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from oil and gas extraction: businesses or the final consumer, and how must we ensure that the burden is fairly shared?
  • What does clean energy transitioning mean to oil and gas companies, and what are the investment implications of adapting to climate change?
  • What more can oil and gas companies do to contain emissions from oil and gas extraction in Africa and accelerate clean energy transitioning?
  • How can businesses support African governments in their negotiations at COP26?

An active citizenship panel to discuss the importance of, and avenues for, citizenry engagement on the climate discourse to advance responsible climate action and innovation in Africa. There will also be a presentation that discusses why Africa should care about climate change and the importance of citizenry engagement on the subject matter. The key questions are

  • What practical ways can complex, expert-level climate messaging be communicated to non-experts? Who should be responsible for climate communication in oil-producing African countries?
  • How can citizenry expectations/disappointments on the promise of oil and gas for development be effectively managed in the bid to feature climate action in oil governance in Africa?
  • How should the next generation be equipped with the knowledge, awareness and skills needed to innovatively tackle climate change and other environmental challenges in Africa?
  1. Who will participate in the 2020 AOGS?

A minimum of 300 participants are expected to attend the 2020 Summit each day. Participants will be drawn from the following groups:

  • Government Ministries
  • Climate experts and persons interested in interplay between climate change and oil and gas industry
  • Climate finance institutions
  • International Oil and Gas Companies
  • National Oil/Gas Companies
  • Private sector players within and outside the oil and gas industry
  • Management Consulting and Advisory Companies
  • Industry Regulators
  • Accountability Institutions
  • Heads of Missions of Embassies in Ghana
  • Civil Society Organizations
  • Traditional Authorities
  • Development Partners
  • International Think Tanks/NGOs
  • Academia