DUBAI, 14 November 2021 – Oil and gas-rich Senegal has highlighted the importance of balancing environmental needs, with developing itself and its neighbours.
Speaking to investors at the opening of the Senegal Energy Week at Expo 2020 Dubai, Her Excellency Aissatou Sophie Gladima, Senegal’s Minister of Petroleum and Energies, said the just-concluded COP26 emphasised the need to implement sustainable energy production to address climate change.
At the same time, the Minister stressed the need to fully utilise available resources for the West African nation’s economic growth and neighbouring Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Gambia, with Senegal planning to share its reserves through a gas-for-power project.
“We should protect nature but also exploit the resources that God gave us,” HE Gladima said. Senegal has an estimated 450 billion cubic feet of natural gas and over one billion barrels of oil reserves.”
“We invite investors to come and work with us in Senegal. We have a country where development is happening. We have stability,” Gladima said.
Environmental experts are concerned oil and gas exploration and energy production contribute to climate change.
Thierno Seydou Ly, Director of Hydrocarbons at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energies addressed these environmental concerns, saying impact studies are done before a project can proceed.
“This aspect has already been taken into account in our legal framework. Before an oil and gas operation can be done in Senegal, you need to put in place an environmental impact study. If this study shows that the project is not sustainable, we stop it.”
“If there is any risk, the operator has to implement a mitigation plan in order to reduce the impact to the environment,” Ly said.
He said revenue from oil and gas will be used to develop renewable energy like solar and wind.
“The revenue generated has to finance all our projects in order to develop sustainable and clean energy,” Ly said.
He added: “We have more [natural] gas and oil discoveries and we are in a good [position]… to help our neighbouring countries, to give them the gas that we have, because this gas will be the energy of the transition [towards economic growt]).”