With Africa Oil Week in Cape Town in its 26th year, this year’s event – from 4 to 8 November – will feature for the first time a day-long “South African Showcase”.
The timing is apposite, not least because of a series of South Africa-specific developments dominating local headlines in recent months:
- The country’s energy crisis, with power utility Eskom at its centre;
- Total South Africa’s Brulpadda gas condensate discovery off South Africa’s south eastern coast;
- Local financing institutions joining the international trend towards turning down the heat on coal-based energy projects;
- President Cyril Ramaphosa’s combining of the Mineral Resources and Energy portfolios under Minister Gwede Mantashe; and
- In just the past few days, Minister Mantashe’s announcement that work has begun of drafting oil and gas legislation.
It is hoped that Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, a vocal proponent of gas-to-energy for South Africa, will open the Showcase on Tuesday 5 November, and that Minister Mantashe will speak.
On record as saying, soon after assuming his dual portfolio, that all options from coal to renewables were on the table as part of South Africa’s future energy mix, the Minister could use this particular platform to expand on the envisaged role of oil and gas; also, perhaps, in light of his most recent announcement, to report on progress towards draft oil and gas legislation.
The opening session of the South African Showcase, titled Charting a Successful Way Forward for South Africa’s Oil and Gas Sector, will set out how the energy sector can commit to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recently stated goal of attracting $100 billion worth of investments and how the country could develop both as a key upstream player and a regional hub.
Tebogo Motloung, Acting General Manager, Petroleum Agency SA and Peter Leon, Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills have already committed to participation in a session providing an overview of South Africa’s proposed new petroleum legislation and referencing best policy and governance that can be used to ensure countries like South Africa generate receipts to advance their socio-economic development and global private sector participation.
Niall Kramer, Chief Executive Officer of the South African Oil and Gas Alliance (SAOGA) will moderate two panel discussions during the day. One will explore the potential for development of South Africa’s unconventional energy industry in the context of the Government’s Integrated Resource Plan for electricity. The other, on local content and procurement, will address, amongst other issues, how South African service-providers can improve their competitiveness in tenders for international projects.
Gas to power potential across South Africa – highly topical in the context of the growing coal to cleaner energy conversion debate locally – will be the focus of another session and, in a feature tagged Prospect Showcase, PetroSA and Petroleum Agency South Africa representatives will give presentations on the hottest farm-out opportunities both onshore and offshore South Africa.
Then there will be “lightning talks” on four of South Africa’s top energy projects – for example, the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), on which Acting CEO Kaashifah Beukes will provide an update. Earlier this year, Former Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies reported Saldanha Bay IDZ’s development as a “maritime and offshore hub”, having attracted investments worth more than R3 billion from both international and South African investors.