Energy Transition is in Focus as the World clean up its Consumption Habits- Akabogu

Dr. Emeka Akabogu

Dr. Emeka Akabogu, Chairman of OTL Africa Downstream, in his welcome remarks told participants at the conference that they had to converge again after a two-year hiatus occasioned by circumstances which have gripped the world and rendered everyone helpless for a while. The reality of COVID-19 not just stopped the world in its tracks, but recalibrated activity for many.

It certainly took its toll on operations in the downstream energy space resulting to job losses, low investments among other issues.

In his words: “In the mix of all these, happily at OTL, we did not go to sleep. In 2020 we hosted a very successful virtual event despite being buffeted by a global lockdown and a national security crisis in Nigeria smack in the middle of the #EndSARS protests. We have also been busy with research, and are happy to launch this year, the OTL Downstream Industry Pulse, an empirical study of markets and market behaviour within the industry’s value chain. More will be said on that during the week.”    

In spite of the challenge, Akabogu was of the view that the world has moved back to normalcy, it has embraced the reality of the new normal, including mask mandates, increased awareness of personal hygiene and the like. The downstream energy value chain has also been evolving through this period.

“More than ever before, energy transition is in focus as the world tries to clean up its energy consumption habits and companies retool to remain relevant in the changing energy dynamics. How well have countries on the continent embraced these realities? Are they even the reality of the downstream energy value chain in Africa? Concurrently with issues of global energy transition, countries are also dealing with implementation of changes to legal regimes.”

The OTL Chairman opined that the Petroleum Industry Act comes with a raft of changes, with activity across the industry largely in a flux. “There’s also a great deal of uncertainty in the industry, with many questions begging for answers.”

The maritime lawyer asserted that it is in the context of all these that the organisers are poised for this year’s event with the theme – ‘Downstream in Transition: Getting Set’. The sessions reflect the crucial issues which the industry must address, and seek to find a path to clarity, increased investment and confidence.

Mergers and acquisitions are active in the fuel retail space which will be considered, while safety and efficiency remain crucial to profitability in shipment of petroleum products, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea.

“OTL is normally reflective of the times. At this year’s hybrid event we witness a gradual and cautious return of the industry to full activity. We are therefore thankful to those who have despite the odds, invested time and resources to participate in the event this year. We are particularly grateful to our sponsors and exhibitors who have ensured that we have an event.”

According to him, it is in times like these that strength of the industry is made manifest. He commended organisations that have stood out boldly and are poised to lead downstream energy going forward.

The Chairman thanked all the sponsors who supported the conference and ensured it is held adding that participants should take advantage of the sessions, the people and the events to deepen relationships and expand value.

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