‘Oil man’ Ayuk says ‘produce every drop you can find’

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In dialogue at the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum held in Georgetown, Guyana, NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC), urged Guyana to fully produce its hydrocarbon resources. The context of his comment was a question about a roadmap for the energy transition of the African and Caribbean countries, amidst the global shift towards decarbonization.

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Ayuk stated, “The wealthy nations, they have produced hydrocarbons, developed their economies, and done very well; now, they need to decarbonize. The Caribbean and African nations, they need to industrialize. It is morally wrong to look at Caribbean and African nations and say, ‘you need to go the same path like us.’” He noted that by 2030, Guyana’s hydrocarbon production could reach about 1.5 million barrels a day, which he said is needed for the country’s development.

“Please don’t stop. Produce every drop of hydrocarbons you can find. And use that money to go at your own pace,” Ayuk said. Bolstering this point, he reminded that there are unfulfilled climate support pledges from developed nations. “Where is the $100 billion they promised? It hasn’t come. And then they’ll say, ‘you have to transition.’ Where are you gonna have the money from? [African Export Import Bank] Afrexim  is not going to be alone to power that transition without the money…” 

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Ayuk, who calls himself an ‘oil man’, has criticized how Western environmental lobbyists have treated with the oil and gas industry in Africa. He has argued that their opposition to oil extraction could put those countries in a precarious position that leaves them dependent on “handouts”, and that African countries should extract their resources, so they can be on a path to self-sufficiency.

“Demonizing the oil and gas industry must stop. We see it constantly, in the media, in policy and investment decisions, and in calls for Africa to leave our fossil fuels in the ground,” Ayuk said in an AEC release. “We see it with lawsuits to stop the financing of projects such as Mozambique Liquefied Natural Gas or lawsuits to prevent Shell from even carrying out a seismic survey.” 

He said actions like these are not helpful, especially as Western leaders have pushed the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and European nations to increase their production and escalate coal use. 

The AEC said African and Caribbean nations, through collaboration, stand to maximize the benefits of their oil and gas wealth. And should be allowed to fast-track development efforts. 

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