Western Cape to become hub for offshore oil and gas exploration

Mar 09, 2004 01:00 AM

Western Cape MEC for Finance and Economic Development, Ebrahim Rasool, says a plan should be devised to make the province's oil and gas industry viable to deliver on socio- and economic objectives of the government. He was speaking at the inaugural oil, gas and petrochemicals exhibition and conference, which kicked off at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The aim of Oil Africa 2004 is to promote the Western Cape as a servicing hub for Western Africa and international offshore oil exploration and production industry.
"The role of government in all of this is to ensure that there is an enabling environment within which we can turn this key potential sector into an actual growth sector," Mr Rasool explained.

The three-day event focuses on the USA's intention to source 25 % of its oil requirement from Africa by 2015. The Oil Africa 2004 conference would also encourage leaders in the oil, gas, petrochemicals and shipping industries in the region to develop an offshore industry that will provide jobs and create wealth in the region. The MEC said government had over the last few years tried to create social and political stability to enable the gas and oil industry to operate smoothly.
"We spoke about the provincial Growth and Development Summit as being the platform around which business, labour, communities and government come together contractually in order to say these are our objectives and these are the way to achieve them," MEC Rasool said.

He added that the summit recognised oil and gas exploration taking place in the coastal areas of the Western Cape, such as Mossel Bay, Saldanha Bay and George.
"We believe that South Africa is fairly well placed to provide service to rest of Africa with regard to both the oil and gas industry," MEC Rasool said He added that the industry was competitive, both locally and internationally.
Mr Rasool envisaged that the oil and gas industry in the province would encompass the principle of Black Economic Empowerment.
"Our zeal for the oil and gas industry is the fact that it is one of the new industries for South Africa and the Western Cape and that it is one that is not necessarily inheriting the ownership patterns of the past," said Rasool.

Advocate Sandile Nogxina, Director-General in the department of Minerals and Energy said approximately R 1, 4 bn had been earmarked for the upgrading and development of infrastructure in the Western cape.
"The World's big five energy companies Total, Chevron, Texaco, ExxonMobil, Shell and BP have committed sizeable investments into the upstream sector in West Africa," he said.

Advocate Nogxina said the Western Cape could provide a stable first-world base from which to manage and supply major oil and gas field activities. He added that government had in the past decade put in place the regulatory framework that would enable the industry to remain competitive, while addressing the historical imbalances of the past.
"We have given the oil companies a target of 25 % of their outspend to go to small, especially to companies owned by historically disadvantaged South Africans by 2010, to date they have achieved only 4 %," Adv Nogxina added. He also said government wanted maximum use of local material and labour in the Western Cape initiative.

Source: BuaNews
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