By JAMES MUYANWA in Abidjan, IVORY COAST –
AFRICA’s experiences of the last decade call for more African investors to invest in the petroleum subsector instead of leaving it to the multinational companies from developed countries who have disappointed the continent.
The African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARA) said here on Monday that to ensure sacurity of the supply of petroleum products, there is need for more African investors to invest in the sector in the continent.
ARA executive secretary, Joel Dervain said that in the last 10 years or so a lot of multinational companies involved in the petroleum business had pulled out of various countries in Africa thereby endangering the supply of the petroleum products.
For that reason, more African investors with adequate resources should stake their resources in the sector to fill up the gap and ensure sustainable flow of the essential commodity in the African countries.
Created in 2006, the ARA is an association representing the pan-African downstream oil industry.
The association has a membership of 37 of the 43 African operating oil refineries as well as 59 importers, terminal operators, regulators, major marketers and shippers.
“The sector in Africa has been daunted by the big multinational companies who have pulled out of the sector in the last 10 years.
‘’Therefore, we feel that it is good to have our own people to fill the gap. If we see our own members with resources, who come up to try and invest within Africa we embrace that,” Mr Dervain told visiting senior journalists from Zambia.
The journalists are on a tour of West Africa , at the invitation of Sahara Group, Africa’s leading energy and infrastructure conglomerate, to learn more about the performance of the energy sector in the region.
Mr Dervain said that there was a yawning gap between the output of the current oil refineries in the continent and the demand, which called for further investments.
He said it was high time that Africans invested more in the African energy sector to guarantee constant supply of the commodity.
“There is a huge gap between the oil refinery capacity and the demand which needs to be reduced through investments. It is good to have our own people who are ready to fill up that gap,” he said.
He noted that despite continued emphasis on the need to use the renewable ernergy, oil had remained a dorminant product in the mix and would remain so for some time to come.
Currently, Zambia is scrutinising bids of five of the investors who bid to take up 49 per cent of the shares in the country’s only oil refinery, Indeni.