South Africa seeks opportunities in emerging oil industry

Mar 09, 2004 01:00 AM

South African companies, those in Western Cape province in particular, had huge opportunities in providing logistic support and other services to the oil industry of west Africa, delegates of a continental oil conference were told.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, Sandile Nogxina, director general of South Africa's Minerals and Energy Department, said, "Western Cape province can be the servicing hub for the booming west African offshore oil exploration and production industry with world-class infrastructure, technology and human resources."

The first sub-Saharan oil, gas and petrochemicals exhibition and conference, Oil Africa 2004, was held in Cape Town on March 9-11. More than 1,500 top business people and 260 delegates from Britain, the United States, Russia and African countries attended the event.
The United States has planned to import more oil from Africa, instead of Middle East, and African oil will account for 25 % of all imported oil in the country in the future, increasing from 17 % today. West Africa is one of the fastest growing oil exploration and production areas in the world.

The world's major energy companies are committed to sizable investments into the upstream sector in west Africa. The ExxonMobil alone has planned to spend $ 30 bn on existing and new development projects in Africa in the next decade, Nogxina said.
Ebrahim Rasool, a senior financial official of Cape Town, said that due to its excellent industrial and technological capacity, the competent labour force and the short distance to production areas, Western Cape province with Cape Town as its capital was a suitable servicing hub for the emerging oil industry on the continent.
"We should rethink our long-term strategy: on which sector our future economy will be based?" Rasool asked.

He said the province should use a different approach toward the human resources development, as the shortage of skills was one of the major challenges facing the ambitious plan of the province.
Rasool also suggested to intensify efforts for upgrading and development of infrastructure in the areas.

Source: Xinhua News Agency
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