Striking the balance between energy transition and energy security in Africa

Welcome to our new blog series, AIS Answers, where our experts share their thoughts on the most pressing digital topics influencing the energy sector. This time, we’re talking all things energy transition vs energy security in Africa with our very own Adeshina Adebusuyi, Business Development Manager Africa.

So, Adeshina, did you always want to work in energy? Tell us about what excites you the most about the industry and your role at AIS.

Yes, I have always wanted to work in the energy sector and it’s this desire that’s fuelled my studies and career journey to date.

Early on I discovered I had a flair for solving technical and operational challenges, designing solutions from scratch, making existing processes better, improving efficiency and continually evolving them over time. The energy industry has given me the platform to achieve all this and more which continues to motivate and challenge me, both personally and professionally.

My role in business development at AIS allows me to speak directly with stakeholders and clients in the energy sector and support them in finding the solutions to complex issues that keep arising in their day-to-day operations.


What are the challenges with the current global rhetoric on Africa’s energy transition?

It’s an interesting discussion. Headlines may point to how Africa is primed with potential to be Europe’s partner to meet net zero targets, but when we’re contending with energy security issues, decarbonising isn’t necessarily our primary concern – obtaining reliable energy supply, however, is often high on agendas.

West Africa is a key player in the continent’s upstream market, and the energy industry needs to recognise the pressures at play when encouraging a green transition.

This includes recognising the energy needs of the continent. Part of this is its significant OPEC quotas. These cannot be underestimated; persistent underinvestment and lack of maintenance means that countries including Nigeria and Angola are already unlikely to meet their contractual production obligations, so they’re not ready to turn off the tap just yet.

What else is in the way of Africa moving towards an energy transition?

Africa, while contributing just 4% of global emissions, is set to face some of the worst consequences of climate change from extreme weather to famine. At the same time, Africa is upgrading its oil and gas infrastructure, benefitting financially and securing supply for itself in response to energy poverty in many parts of the continent.

This creates a challenging dichotomy when it comes to energy transition debates.

Continents that have profited from fossil fuel production for decades need to think carefully about the best way to support Africa in its clean energy transition; it’s not enough to just point the finger.

Digital technologies can play a significant role in lowering emissions and increasing efficiency across the entire oil and gas value chain; so there needs to be a bit of a rethink when it comes to moving the needle without causing further harm to people relying on fossil fuel for energy.

AIS Oil Barrels 2 Copy

What role will digitalisation play in Africa's energy security and transition pathway?

By adopting digital technologies, Africa’s oil and gas industry can supercharge its production levels, maximise efficiency of maintenance schedules, and bolster its decision making. All of these play a crucial role in unlocking energy security in the continent and reducing unnecessary emissions in the value chain. With greater digital monitoring, issues like emissions leaks can be caught early and stopped in their tracks, decarbonising production and ensuring maximum efficiency.

And beyond energy security, lot of the benefits to Africa’s oil and gas industry can be replayed as the continent shifts to renewable energies, such as integrating data siloes, improved predictive maintenance, and more streamlined workflows for better operational and financial performance.

Starting new energy projects with a digitally focussed mindset will mean we can bypass some of the learning phases and include the latest innovations right from the planning stages, with a workforce that are brought in on the process from the get-go. This is where we see some of the most exciting break throughs happening in Africa’s energy industry.

And lastly, what are you most excited about in the African energy industry in the coming years?

The African energy industry is poised for significant growth in the coming years. While awareness for efficiency and digitalisation of processes and workflows is already growing, I am excited to develop local content policies and initiatives in-region, to increase investment in the downstream sector and the opportunities presented by renewables.

Overall, while there are challenges such as regulatory uncertainty, all this, driven by digitalisation, will provide significant opportunities for investment and development.

AIS oil barrel 2