COVID-19: Africa’s Economy Risks $80Bn Loss

Yemisi Izuora

African countries may lose up to $80 billion in investment between 2020 to 2025 following the devastating effect of COVID-19.

Particularly, Nigeria is projected to lose $24 billion in investments especially in the oil and gas sector between 2020 and 2025.

An African Energy Chamber, AEC, Outlook 2021, report stated that with the $24 billion loss of investments in the oil and gas sector, Nigeria would account for 30 per cent of the total of $80 billion loss of investments that would be recorded in the petroleum industry across Africa.

The AEC said: “The detrimental impact of COVID-19 on global energy markets is also expected to have an impact on African activity. Compared to pre-COVID19 expectation, about $80 billion less investments are expected in Africa towards 2025, with the years 2020 to 2022 carrying the brunt of the difference.

“Out of these $80 billions, Nigeria is by far the most adverse impacted country with about $24 billion moving out of the 2020-2025 window.” The AEC further projected a delay in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, Train 7 project, as well as other gas projects in the country, occasioned by the pandemic, which had also negatively impacted the price and demand of crude oil in the international market.

According to the report, upcoming gas projects would take a hit and run a risk of delays, while it noted that some oil majors operating in the country had already started shifting the timelines for their gas projects.

It said: “The majority of the projects in Africa that were up for sanctioning were planned assuming an oil price of between $55 and $60 per barrel, bbl.

The oil price currently hovering around $40/bbl therefore spells bad news, especially as the top upcoming Final Investment Decisions, FID, in Africa have a breakeven crude price of over $45/bbl, with some even close to $60/bbl.

“ENI and ExxonMobil have both stated that they will focus on developing projects with a breakeven crude price of less than $35/bbl. “In its latest announcement, Shell distanced itself from deep-water mega-projects off the coast of Nigeria, placing the Bonga Southwest-Aparo, a 150,000 barrels of oil per day, bpd, Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading, FPSO, development that was soon coming up for FID, on the backburner for now. “Upcoming gas projects will also take a hit and run a risk of delays.

Although Nigeria approved the development of NLNG train 7 last year, the upstream gas developments that were planned to supply feedgas to this development might now take a back seat.”

However, the AEC projected that at a higher crude oil price of $50 per barrel, and additional investments of up to $10 billion, Nigeria would be able to produce a total of two billion barrels of crude oil between 2020 and 2030.

The chamber said: “With an additional capital expenditure of $10 billion in investment over the 2020-2030 period, the additional capital expenditure is estimated at $49 billion at the $35 /bbl threshold increasing towards $100 billion as the $50/bbl threshold is approached.

“Breaking down the uplift in additional resources produced and the additional capital expenditure unlocked reveals Nigeria as the country with most potential.

Nigeria will effectively be able to produce about 2 billion barrels more than otherwise while justifying $10 billion more investments.

“However, the AEC stated that: “From a spend perspective, that is, all money spent on investments and operations, we can expect a more stable outlook for Africa’s share. While Africa is projected to consistently represent about 8-9 per cent of the global spend between 2012 and 2025, its share of global production is also expected to decline over the same period.

“Unfortunately, the only conclusion to be drawn from such facts is once again that of a deteriorating competitive position for African petroleum resources. With the exception of a few jurisdictions, producing a barrel of oil from African soil remains less competitive than producing the same barrel elsewhere.”

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