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Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of the gas-rich country of Equatorial Guinea, has assumed the Presidency of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF)

With this appointment, Obiang Lima will preside over the GECF Ministerial Meeting in 2023, envisaging activities of the forum and reaffirming Africa’s role in the global energy dialogue.

At a time when natural gas has taken on an increasingly important role in the global energy matrix, Obiang Lima’s appointment spells new opportunities for African gas exploration and monetisation. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, coupled with the European Union’s labeling of 'gas as green' has already set in motion a new wave of gas-focused investment, with Africa’s resources seen to have the potential to play a critical role in meeting rising energy demand. Yet for Africa to realise the full potential of its natural gas reserves – which current estimates place at 620 tn cu/ft, with new exploration campaigns set to increase this figure exponentially – investment must increase significantly.

As a pro-gas, pro-investment leader, Obiang Lima has been and continues to be a strong advocate for the utilisation of gas in Africa. Under his leadership, the country has seen the advancement of its Gas Mega Hub – a multi-phase development aiming to monetise stranded offshore gas resources across the region – and has signed several gas-focused partnerships across West Africa

Meanwhile, for current and emerging African gas producers, with Obiang Lima at the head, the GECF is set to open up new opportunities for investment and engagement with international operators and service providers. With his appointment, unlocking new capital for African gas projects may accelerate, as he places a more direct focus on Africa.