Over 1000 participants from East Africa and the rest of the world are expected to feature in the three-day East African Community Petroleum and Exhibition Conference to be held in Arusha in a week, from Wednesday February 6 to Friday, February 8.
This will be another edition of the East African Petroleum bi-annual conference that was launched in 2003 and is hosted on a rotational basis among the EAC Partner States.
The conference and exhibition is intended to promote investment in the oil and gas sector by demonstrating to the world the potential that lies within the region and sharing information on the status of development of the sector in each of the partner states, EAC officials said.
Dr Nyamajeje Weggoro, the EAC Director for Productive Sectors, told a press conference that the conference shall offer a wide range of technical presentations reflecting developments in the oil and gas industry in East Africa and around the world.
‘’This is unique for EA to showcase its potential and how best to harness the recent discoveries in oil and gas in the Partner States,’’ he said. President Jakaya Kikwete is expected to officiate at the opening of the conference.
The conference shall tackle the theme on East African Region as an emerging destination for investments and future supply for oil and gas for sustainable development.
“We have chosen this theme because of major discoveries in both oil and gas in recent years in Western Uganda and gas in southern Tanzania and in the coastal area. There were huge discoveries of oil in northern Kenya, and gas in the coastal area of Kenya,” the director elaborated, noting that this has made the region a hot spot for investors from all over the world.
Business and industry leaders in the energy sector, top government officials, the various ministers for East African Community affairs, ministers responsible for energy, finance and planning from the five EAC countries are expected to attend the conference.
Others are executives in other relevant sectors, key private sector representatives, professional bodies, research outfits and major energy firms have similarly listed to attend the conference.
The conference not only aims to ensure that the region mobilizes resources as much as possible and makes people aware of the importance of the resources East Africa has for their benefits, but also promote investments from within and outside the region “given the nature, the sensitivity, the kind of business that surrounds the sector,” he affirmed.
“It is through such a conference that mobilization can take place of awareness of existence of oil and gas resources in EA and figure out how to exploit them for the benefit of all East Africans.
People have to get information on what is going on so as to ensure that most of our people understand what is involved in the sector,” he further noted.
“East Africa is out to ensure mutual benefit. Resources have to be developed for the benefits of all East Africans, the people where resources are found will benefit probably quickly more than those farther away,” he said, observing that political leaders and economic planners are being pushed to ensure that this is done.
“That is why we have in East Africa a strategy, a plan to construct gas and oil pipelines throughout the region,” Dr Weggoro specified.
The gas pipelines will complement existing ones, and some oil pipelines that we have will be expanded to cater for the rising demand. But also because of the discoveries, EAC States need infrastructure to ensure that gas and oil reach the users efficiently and in an affordable way.