South Africa seeks Omani investments in energy sector

Oct 29, 2007 01:00 AM

by Paul D. Karra

South Africa, which is the world’s top producer of minerals, is seeking to diversify and secure its energy resources, thus opening numerous investment opportunities, a top official said.
The country’s huge coal reserves, estimated to last for the next 200 years, is its main source of energy which drives its manufacturing sector.

According to Sandile Nogxina, director-general (equivalent to undersecretary) of South African Ministry of Minerals & Energy, a strategic energy diversification plan known as the “Energy Master Plan” has been created by his government to contain the energy imbalance between demand and supply.
“South Africa is a growing economy with a GDP of $ 562 bn and as such we need to diversify and secure our energy sources and it makes logical sense for an Oman-South Africa partnership,” said Nogxina.

Nogxina led a seven-member delegation which included members of his ministry as well as South Africa’s National Oil Company (NOC) PetroSA on a two-day visit to the Sultanate of Oman which concluded. During his visit, Nogxina and his delegation held meetings with Nasser bin Khamis Al Jashmi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas and also with representatives of Oman LNG, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of National Economy.
The other important members of Nogxina’s delegation included Sipho Mkhize, CEO of PetroSA; and Nhlanhla Gumede, deputy director-general, hydrocarbons, energy planning and clean energy.

“We held discussions with various ministries to increase the cooperation between our country and Oman with regards to opportunities in the energy sector which can be built on the excellent relations that already exist between our two countries,” said Nogxina.
The total volume of trade between Oman and South Africa has increased over the past five years from just $ 17.3 mm to $ 258 mm. South Africa mainly imports polypropylene products from Oman while exports include metals and finished products as well as fresh produce like fruits and vegetables.

The delegation led by Nogxina is in Oman to study the regulatory frameworks of the Sultanate and in turn share the new regulatory frameworks put in place by the South African government as part of the Energy Masterplan.
“Once we begin to understand the regulatory environment in Oman, we will then bring industrial delegations to look for investment opportunities in Oman,” pointed out Nogxina. “We have agreed to share our expertise with our Omani counterparts and assist them in the development of geology and geo-sciences,” Nogxina disclosed.

Opportunities also exist for Omani investors in the energy sector in South Africa mainly in the minerals industry mainly the coal industry which has been opened for foreign players as well.
“The sky is the limit for investments in our mineral sector as we are the world’s top producer of all minerals including gold, diamonds, platinum etc.,” he said.

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