South Africa focuses on service to African oil and gas industry

Oct 19, 2007 02:00 AM

South African companies can more than double the estimated R 4-bn they are currently earning from the African oil and gas industry if they explore the opportunities thoroughly, says Steve Hrabar, chairman of the South African Oil and Gas Alliance (SAOGA).
“Nigeria is supplying 2,2-mm barrels of oil a day and Angola will soon top this,” Hrabar points out. “The USA has stated that it expects 28 % of its crude oil to come from West Africa. Several other Southern African countries are now producing oil on- and off-shore, including Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with discoveries in Uganda and Madagascar.”

South Africa has by far the best technological base in Africa to supply this industry with everything from foodstuffs to consulting services to fabricated components. Content localisation is still a long way off in all the sub-Saharan oil producing countries. Nigeria, for example, managed 14 % of the 50 % local content required in 2006.
The 3rd Oil Africa Expo and Conference forthe sub-Saharan oil, gas and petrochemical industries, to take place in Cape Town in March next year, will be the ideal forum for South African suppliers to network in this exciting industry. The conference theme, Managing Change in African Oil and Gas Supply, refers to changing upstream technology, changing customs requirements and changes in South Africa’s ability to service the industry.

Hrabar points out that the conference will not only educate South African service providers, but also the oil and gas operators world wide who need to be aware of major strides in South Africa’s readiness to serve the industry.
The dedicated Saldanha fabrication facility, announced at the last Oil Africa Conference in 2006, is close to completion. This site, developed by MAN Ferrostaal together with the IDC, will be operated by Grinaker -- LTA and has been lauded as one of the world’s best fabrication facilities by a leading oil company.

SAOGA has several other initiatives in the feasibility stages, including construction of a logistics base in the Western Cape dedicated to the African oil and gas industry and a dry dock to accommodate offshore oil rigs in the Cape Town harbour. Only five dry docks exist in the world for this purpose, none of them convenient to service rigs in Atlantic rim countries.
A deal with SARS is also being finalised to enable SAOGA to streamline the process involved in landing items in South Africa for repair. This will aid both operators by speeding up repairs and local service providers by expediting the complicated customs process.

SAOGA has introduced internationally certified courses for offshore rig crew members, which are being attended by individuals from several West African countries and providing South African nationals with employment opportunities in the industry across the sub-continent.

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