API's First Agreement with African Partner Extends Safety, Protection Programs to Continent
John D. Siciliano
Posted April 5, 2021
API took an important step to extending its safety and environmental protection programs to the continent of Africa, signing a new collaborative agreement with the business group African Energy Chamber (AEC), to expand use of API world-class standards, certifications and training programs.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the AEC – API’s first agreement with an African partner – is the latest in a series of similar agreements in the past year between API and organizations in nearly every region of the world. Such agreements arise from the global recognition API standards have earned for enhancing safety, efficiency and environmental protection across the natural gas and oil industry.
Alexa Burr, API vice president for Segment Standards and Services:
“API is pleased to collaborate with the AEC to expand use of our standards and programs to help enhance the safety and sustainability of natural gas and oil operations across the African continent. This is our first partnership with an African-based organization, and we look forward to supporting AEC’s efforts to drive industry-wide technical knowledge.”
Africa’s population growth, economic development and associated increasing demand for energy underscore the significance of the new MOU, which will support the standards and regulatory frameworks needed to help ensure access to clean, reliable, safe and sustainable energy. Efforts to alleviate energy poverty are critical since less than half of the population across sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity, and less than 20% has access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and World Bank. IEA also projects that these circumstances may not improve without focused efforts to address them.
API Chief Economist Dean Foreman, serves on the Chamber’s Advisory Board and the U.S.-Africa Committee:
“Africa appears poised to sustain the world’s strongest long-term population and energy demand growth, according to the United Nations, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the IEA. As many countries across the continent struggle today to alleviate energy poverty, Africa needs solutions that advance human and economic development while also developing their resources to high standards. Collaboration between the African Energy Chamber and API holds great potential to enhance sound energy development while also creating a conduit for industry collaboration and business development that could be critical to meet their world-leading oil and natural gas demand growth in coming decades.”
In the coming decades, Africa is expected to supplant many of the current record holders for population growth.
According to a Pew Research Center report, eight of the ten countries expected to gain the most people by 2100 are in Africa: Nigeria (projected to have the largest gain, 527 million), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, Niger, Egypt and Sudan. Of those countries, Nigeria, Angola, Egypt and Sudan are major natural gas and oil producers, with Nigeria topping the list as the largest producer in Africa, followed by Angola, according to the EIA. Both are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). EIA says Nigeria holds the largest natural gas reserves on the continent, and in 2018 was the world’s fifth–largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Egypt is the largest non-OPEC oil producer on the continent and the third-largest natural gas exporter in Africa.
Additionally, natural gas discoveries in Mozambique, Tanzania, Egypt, Mauritania, Senegal and South Africa accounted for over 40% of global gas discoveries between 2011 and 2018 per IEA.
These trends underscore the need for new energy infrastructure in Africa, requiring increased investment in what IEA describes as a challenging market. As IEA points out:
- 2011-2018, energy supply investments in sub-Saharan Africa dropped by over 30%.
- And oil and gas investments more than halved over the same period.
Meeting these challenges to sustainably enhance the energy supply and alleviate energy poverty will be a key focus of the new MOU between API and the AEC.
Meeting African demand will require new energy projects to be constructed utilizing new standards, innovative technologies and partnerships to accelerate safe, cleaner, affordable energy solutions. In this, API’s robust training, certification and standards programs can help African industry build capacity, local industry capabilities and ultimately safer and more sustainable energy facilities. API standards enhance safety for both workers and the communities in which the industry operates, while establishing environmental management systems that help prevent accidents, protect the ecosystem and develop clean and sustainable infrastructure.
The new MOU seeks to create a framework for discussing the industry’s high standards and practices, establishing a culture that prioritizes sustainability and building smart regulatory regimes that foster innovation.
About The Author
John Siciliano is a writer for API Global Industry Services’ Marketing and Communications Department. He joined API after 14 years as an energy and environment reporter and editor. Most recently, he was senior energy and environment writer for the Washington Examiner and the Daily on Energy newsletter. He began full-time reporting in Washington in 2001 as a foreign affairs correspondent, also covering national security and defense. His coverage of the Mideast and Saudi Arabia led him to become a full-time energy reporter. He earned a bachelors degree in psychology from Ohio Northern University, and he also holds a Masters of Science degree in education from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.