Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  09 Feb 2012

OIL: Oil and Gas Boom in Southern and East Africa


Recent Gauteng Business News

“Growth projections for oil and gas in Southern and East Africa are the best they have ever been,” says Nick de Blocq, Business Development Manager at Schlumberger East and Southern Africa. “The region holds a treasure trove of opportunities for local oil and gas sectors.”

“The region is increasingly being seen as one of the last outposts of exploration with a still-friendly commercial environment, and the rig count is set to double year-on-year,” adds De Blocq. Local content is becoming an important component in the exploration and production requirements of countries in the region, and international companies need to form strategic partnerships with states and local companies in order to facilitate this.

De Blocq says some of the biggest opportunities in the oil and gas sector in Southern and East Africa are for the provision of services - engineering support, logistics expertise, consumables suppliers, inspection services fully conversant with current industry requirements and freight forwarders with customs links. There are also opportunities for suitably qualified and aggressive local technicians, engineers and geologists who demonstrate a passion for the industry.

De Blocq adds that upstream oil and gas experience is almost non-existent in East Africa in terms of local availability. “This is not new in immature oil countries and needs to be taken on by the multi-nationals in terms of employment, training and collaboration with local tertiary educational structures.”

Oil and Gas Boom – Still Challenges Exist

Despite the positive outlook for the industry, De Blocq also points to constraints preventing Southern and East Africa from fully leveraging their opportunities. The most common obstacle is the temptation to change the rules in mid-game.

“For example, one of the best discoveries of oil in Sub-Saharan Africa in 10 years was made in Uganda, but the project was put on hold for a year because of late attempts by its government to draft a new set of oil laws and make changes to tax laws without investigating ways to allow the explorationists to continue their work in the interim.”

Oil and Gas Boom Bring Large Projects

Two of the biggest projects include the appraisal and eventual development work of the world-class gas fields offshore in Mozambique and Tanzania. Others include the onshore oil fields in the Lake Albert region of Uganda. And, there are additional opportunities that will arise from projects in northern Mozambique and Southern Tanzania. De Blocq says there are plans to develop at least two Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants, which will require massive civil engineering and mid-stream O and G expertise. “Construction and pipeline companies need to get involved early with bigger players to find ways of assisting with design, fabrication and construction.”

ENI SpA and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation recently discovered multiple commercial natural gas fields in MozambiqueÂ’s Rovuma basin. Total gas reserves are estimated to be at least 22.5 trillion cubic feet. This oil and gas boom is potentially worth about $800-billion.

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