Resource-rich African countries are targeting emissions reductions in the energy sector with support from the Commonwealth

Government officials from six of Africa’s emerging oil and gas producers recently met in Senegal to discuss concrete actions they can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector.

The week-long workshop entitled Visibility and Reduction of Oil and Gas Emissions was presented by the Commonwealth Secretariat, in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and other industry experts.

More than 50 delegates from Ghana, Uganda, Namibia, Tanzania, Mauritania and Senegal – countries with significant oil discoveries – participated in the training. The delegation of each country included representatives of various petroleum, environmental and climate institutions.

The aim was to enable these governments to understand the sources of emissions in their energy sectors, identify areas where emissions could be reduced and explore regulatory tools as well as specific strategies for energy companies to reduce emissions through flaring, venting and methane. Operations.

The workshop also provided a valuable platform for frank discussions and peer-to-peer exchanges, allowing countries to exchange ideas and strategies and learn from each other’s experiences.

Combating climate change

Minimizing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector is critical to combating climate change, especially since most of them can be avoided by addressing flaring, venting, leaks and using renewable energy in operations.

For many countries with abundant oil and gas resources, especially in Africa, reducing methane emissions can also support Sustainable Development Goal 7 – universal access to modern, reliable energy.

To support countries in decarbonising this sector, the Commonwealth Secretariat has developed model guidelines to help governments manage energy projects, by requiring greenhouse gas management plans as part of the project approval process.

This document, Model Guidelines for Submitting a National Field Development Plan, can also be used as a mechanism for implementing zero-sector strategies.

Nadira Auger, Economic Advisor at the Commonwealth Secretariat and Project Leader of the New Producers Group, said:

“If oil and gas projects were designed from the beginning with emissions management as a key criterion, it would radically change the emissions footprint of these assets.”

“This is the unique opportunity for emerging producers that, even with little or no infrastructure, they can become the gold standard for emissions management. This is not easy and will require policy coherence and significant technical assistance.”

Constructive feedback

The training received great interest and constructive feedback from the participants. Dr. Riverson Oppong, Director of Commercial Operations at Ghana National Gas Company, one of the attendees, commented:

“The workshop created awareness of the importance of a sound and comprehensive approach to reducing and measuring methane emissions. We learned many tools from experts in various fields on how to measure and report emissions transparently.”

“Ghana now plans to engage more with upstream operators on how to first measure, and most importantly report accurate numbers, allowing Ghana to build a more accurate picture of its methane emissions.”

The policy ambitions and action plans formulated during the training will be developed by relevant government delegations, who may also receive further support in implementation.

The workshop was an initiative of the New Producers Group (NPG), a collaborative network established jointly by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and Chatham House. It supports 26 countries, including 15 Commonwealth countries, in the sustainable management of petroleum resources including energy transition management.


Media contact

  • Josephine Lato Sanft Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • +44 20 7747 6476 | e-mail

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