ABUJA- OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said on Monday it would be a tragedy if Africa's oil and gas resources became stranded assets because of the global drive towards decarbonisation, and that any talk of halting investments in the field was misguided.

Describing the oil industry as "under siege" by climate change activists who he said had "seized the momentum" to dictate the terms and pace of the energy transition, Barkindo said Africa's development needs were being overlooked.

"It would be a tragedy of unimaginable proportions if despite billions of dollars being poured into investments for these resources (oil and gas in Africa), these went west as stranded assets," he told an energy conference in the Nigerian capital Abuja, appearing by video link.

"The environmental aspect of ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) is perhaps outweighing the need to address the social and development issues," he said.

Barkindo said Africa accounted for less than 3% of global carbon emissions, and that close to 600 million Africans had no access to electricity.

"Any talk of the oil and gas industries being consigned to the past and of the need to halt new investments in oil and gas is misguided," he said. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe and Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Peter Graff and Jan Harvey)