Three Questions with Felix Amieyeofori

The Managing Director and CEO of Energia, Felix Amieyeofori, tells us about innovation in the oil and gas sector, power potential in 2016 and the need for good governance in Africa.

The next big thing: Where do you see the greatest opportunities for the oil and power sectors in Africa?

Africa, in general, is suboptimal in power. Nigeria, with 180 million people, produces only 4,000 MW. In this country, we have now privatized the power sector and those of us in the upstream oil and gas sector are encouraged to look at power generation and off-grid solutions. Nigeria’s power sector is where the action is. As a nation, generating our own power from diesel is not sustainable, however we look at it. For the indigenous upstream companies, many of us are looking at gas production, investing in our own independent power projects, and even micro-LNG.

Making Africa more attractive for investment: What does it take and what do you want to see?

Good governance is number one. Africa as a continent needs political stability, security, better trade policies and improved infrastructure, and the key to these is good governance. Looking specifically at investment, we need to set up improved FDI frameworks. Africa needs to be open enough to be able to allow people to come in and invest, and then to recoup their investment. This is critical. The other factor is that our political and financial institutions need to be stabilized so that we can factor in a greater level of predictability and increase the level of intra-African trade. Once this happens, further opportunities will open up in various sectors, including power and technology. Personally, I would like to see Africa make investors more welcome, because we have a lot of investment opportunities on this continent.

Your year in oil and power: what do you expect in 2016?

If oil has found a new, lower price point, then we need to go back to the field and get to work. Nigeria is encouraging exploration and drilling so we can replace our reserves and prepare for a higher price. I see everybody preparing. In power, we are seeing a surge in interest in renewables among Nigerian firms. 2016 will be an innovative year for everybody. For you to be able to survive as an oil and gas company at low prices, you have to have to use technology to reduce costs and drive the business. Independents like Energia are focusing on technology to stay profitable.

Mr. Amieyeofori and our other panelists will discuss the dynamics of investing in Africa’s energy industry at Africa’s elite energy event on June 6-7 in Cape Town.