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With Africa poised to be the ‘next oil growth story’, the massive opportunities will fall under the spotlight at the upcoming Oil & Gas Africa Conference

The event takes place on 14 March 2012 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and the conference programme features a strong panel of both local and international speakers, all specialists in the oil and gas industry. Conference topics will revolve around the theme, ‘Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa and new opportunities’.

Namibia is attracting the most attention from the oil industry; last year prospectors discovered an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil reserves around the country’s southern coast. More recently, American and Italian exploration companies have found a natural gas deposit equivalent to over four billion barrels of oil off the coast of Mozambique. The southeast African country is now being described as the world’s newest ‘petro-state’. Over the past 20 years in Africa, new oil field discoveries have increased by over 25 per cent, and gas field discoveries by over 100 per cent.

Adi Karev is fiercely optimistic about the outlook for the oil and gas sector in the region. Karev is the Global Leader of the Oil & Gas Practice for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. “The responsible exploitation of oil could be a game changer for sub-Saharan Africa,” says Karev. “But for this to be a success, there needs to be a significant and 'mature' buy-in from the region’s governing elite.”

Karev is one of the conference speakers and will be addressing delegates on global trends. Karev pointed to a number of opportunities to exploit the massive potential, such as joint ventures and partnerships, particularly for South Africa. “Africa is risky, both geographically and politically, so joint ventures are a way to manage the risks.”

By 2035, China will be responsible for most of the 36 per cent increase in global energy demand, according to the International Energy Agency. This brings opportunities for South Africa. “South Africa can bring execution to projects, most notably from energy giant Sasol. There is also potential for ventures with South Africa’s national oil company, PetroSA,” said Karev.

Anton Botes, Karev’s colleague at Deloittes, supported his views. Addressing delegates at Deloitte’s Energy and Resources Predictions 2012 briefing, he noted that Cape Town has already emerged as a services hub. “There is also potential for other South African ports, as well as Namibia’s Walvis Bay, to more fully exploit the services opportunities that will arise from the ongoing expansion of oil exploration and production activities off the coast of West Africa,” he said. “Oil companies make use of specialist suppliers to provide technology, maintenance, engineering, parts and logistical services. We believe that over the coming five to ten years, there will be tremendous growth in the area of oilfield services as a sub-industry, servicing the huge amount of activity up the west coast of Africa.”

Botes will be addressing delegates at the Oil & Gas Africa conference on the outlook for sub-Saharan Africa.

“Africa’s rich oil fields and the prospects of more discoveries have transformed the continent into an important player,” said John Victor, a Director of Fair Consultants SA, organisers of the conference. “The region is a key target for global oil production and resource extraction. The new oil and gas discoveries off the east and west coasts of southern Africa is focusing world attention right here, right now. The Oil and Gas Africa exhibition and conference is now the most important event in the oil and gas business.”