by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THREATENING to spill into a full-blown conflict, a war of words has broken out in the oil and energy sector.
This is the aftermath of the relocation of the annual Africa Oil Week from its usual South African venue to the United Arab Emirates.
Tensions have been simmering since the relocation announced by the United Kingdom-based organisers.
This ignited furore from stakeholders in the African continent, rendering relations in the industry a slippery slope.
Tempers have eventually boiled over after the African Energy Chamber (AEC) this week announced the first-ever African Energy Week (AEW) in place of the relocated summit.
The dates for the two summits are contentious, rendering the summits a counter-attraction.
Africa Oil Week edition 27 will be held in Dubai on November 8-11. The AEW debut will be on November 9-12 in Cape Town.
NJ Ayuk, the AEC executive chairman, alleged harassment moments after the announcement has organisation made on Monday about the inaugural energy summit.
“Something else happened,” he stated.
“Africa Oil Week and many anti-oil and gas activists sent us threatening mails and two hours later, the African Energy Chamber’s website got hacked. I don’t understand what it is about advocating free market and pragmatic solutions for the energy sector that scares them.”
Ayuk accused that the alleged detractors had “certain opinions” against the African oil and gas industry.
“What is surprising, however, is how often the opinions of those who are against the African oil and gas industry are accompanied by hostility, hate speech and sometimes bigotry. I must say, I am disappointed with many of my liberal and leftist friends,” he stated.
While comment could not be obtained from alleged critics, organisers of the Africa Oil Week cited the rising COVID-19 in South Africa as influencing the decision to move to the Middle East.
“We believe that hosting the 2021 edition in Dubai will enable us to ensure that the event experience is both safe and premium for our customers,” organisers of the Africa Oil Week stated recently.
AEC, which said it “will not abandon the continent for international venues”, said the event in Cape Town will take place under strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of all attendees.
There will be mandatory testing and the availability of personal protective equipment and facilities.
More than 190 participants are said to be registered already. AEC said its summit had the full support of prominent African and global industry leaders and oil and gas organisations.
Africa Oil Weeks reported the support from the leading Ministers of Energy from across Africa for the upcoming edition.
– CAJ News