Africa’s New Oil and Gas Producers Must Prepare for More Disappointment in the Post Coronavirus Era

The crash in oil and gas prices, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and the slump in economic activity, has dealt a blow to the plans and public finances of major oil and gas producing countries. But a group of countries in sub-Saharan Africa once designated as “prospective producers” are facing a different challenge.

Annual Meeting 2019
The seventh annual meeting of the New Producers Group brought together the group’s member countries. The meeting included an international discussion, a national seminar and a range of policy-relevant courses which were specially tailored to the priorities of the group. The international discussion focused on ‘Building Capacity and Institutions’. The week’s informal and plenary discussions also demonstrated the growing maturity of the network and the interest of participating countries in deeper cooperation. It was hosted by Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the Petroleum Authority of Uganda and the Uganda National Oil Company.

Annual Meeting 2019 Summary
The 7th Annual Meeting of the New Producers Group was held in Kampala on 11–15 November 2019.  The theme of the discussions was ‘Building Capacity and Institutions’. The 2019 discussions showed a heightened concern for the impact of the global energy transition on emerging petroleum producers and their pursuit of long-term economic benefits from oil and gas production. The uncertainties surrounding the transition permeated discussions throughout the week, including a dedicated training session on navigating emerging risks in the sector, a plenary discussion examining various market scenarios and a discussion of the intersection between Uganda’s oil ambitions and climate commitments as part of the national seminar organized by the host government. These discussions provided an opportunity for a nuanced and detailed sharing of perspectives as governments seek to manage risk.

National Seminar for Uganda 2019
As Uganda prepares for oil production, this seminar provided an opportunity for its government agencies to harmonize public policies that affect or are affected by the oil sector, coordinate across government for improved information flow and planning, and identify investments through which Uganda can leverage the oil sector and achieve its sustainable development goals. The meeting was attended primarily by Ugandan officials, but also included officials from producing or near-producing countries to share their experience, as well as oil company executives.

How Did Africa’s Prospective Petroleum Producers Fall Victim to the Presource Curse
This paper reviews resource sector developments in 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that made their first (major) petroleum discoveries during the most recent commodity boom. The analysis, which goes back to 2001, looks at sector forecasts of international organizations, governments, and companies and compares them with the results that emerged.

Institutional Design in Low-Capacity Oil Hotspots:
This paper focuses on low-capacity countries courted by investors seeking access to petroleum resources during the exploration boom. The key question that emerges in all cases is how to organize and manage the petroleum sector in order to maximize the public benefit derived from oil and gas resources. In particular, what role should national oil companies and other governing bodies have?