East African Community Partner States have been called upon to minimize dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza said dependence on fossil fuels exposes the EAC Partner States to the risks arising from volatility of petroleum prices in the international market and the associated challenges in attaining domestic energy security.
President Nkurunziza further noted that East Africa’s limited infrastructure in terms of refineries, pipelines and storage facilities remained a constraint to stability in fuel prices.
He disclosed that EAC Partner States spend more than 10 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product to import refined petroleum products.
“We are all aware that without sufficient energy, we can neither create wealth nor enhance our competitiveness, production, trade and investments. The EAC therefore attaches great significance to cooperation in the exploration and development of energy resources available in the region,” said President Nkurunziza.
President Nkurunziza was addressing delegates when he officially opened the 8th East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition 2017 (EAPCE’ 17) in Bujumbura, Burundi.
He said that the East African region had demonstrated high potential for oil and gas resources, adding that it was only through concerted efforts by various stakeholders that successful petroleum exploration ventures could be mounted.
“In Burundi, the exploration of petroleum resources at Rusizi and Lake Tanganyika basins has commenced in four blocks of 1,477.5 km2 offshore and 793.1 km2. The government of Burundi continues to encourage oil companies to invest in petroleum exploration. It is also reviewing the Petroleum Code of 1976 for purposes of attracting more investors,” he
President Nkurunziza said that recent discoveries made in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in addition to the existing oil industry in South Sudan had positioned East Africa as the world’s most promising frontier for petroleum exploration and development.
The EAPCE’ 17 is being held under the theme: East Africa – the Emerging Hotspot for Oil and Gas Exploration, Infrastructure Development and Commercialization.
Alluding to the oil curse that has been the bane of many oil-producing countries on the African continent, the EAC Secretary General Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko said East Africa has an obligation to learn from other countries and put petroleum resources to good use.