2 It has a lower environmental cost than oil or coal, and could fuel a huge resource boom.
4 Exploration is proceeding with renewed vigor, and the world’s energy companies are watching the continent with great interest.
5 The potential of liquefied natural gas is especially attractive, as new liquefaction and regasification technologies have made LNG a competitive means of energy distribution.
6 The recent findings also offer the promise of an LNG boom that could change the fortunes of many African nations, while meeting the energy needs of their people, at a lower environmental cost (https://bit.ly/3eX4mIl) than other hydrocarbons.
7 The key is to unlock these opportunities and provide the policy framework to enable them.
8 For South Africa, refining the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill (https://bit.ly/3qQzFr3) into a secure and commercially competitive law would go a long way in enabling these opportunities.
9 After that, another clear solution would be to partner with top-tier international investment scouts, who come with their own balance sheets, skills, experience, and repetitive exposure to get the job done.
10 Even while partnering with foreign organizations, SA is able to retain control of our wealth of resources through the way we negotiate (free) transportation license terms, tax rates, development commitments, tenure, skills preparation, and regulations.
12 Skills shortage in South Africa Such partnerships would present an opportunity to grow South Africa’s skills base in the oil and gas sector.
13 Public-private partnerships are a good way for South Africans to gain international qualifications.
14 Apprentices can be re-skilled miners, craftsmen and technicians in a declining industry or in a younger bracket.
15 If we can attract A-list explorers, we can dig a few holes in the ground, drill for data, and then make evidence-based, empirical decisions about the viability of future production.
16 Mozambique is an example of what can be achieved by partnering with international energy companies to unlock the potential of national resources.
17 Our neighbor to the east is about to export the first shipments from Eni’s offshore platform (https://bit.ly/3BT5sOe), and the operation of Cabo Delgado Total’s onshore plant in Afungi (https:// bit.ly/3DCIqMZ) seems ready to reboot.
18 Billions have been invested and analysts (https://bit.ly/3qOT4bS) predict that Namibia will become the next big oil and gas player on the world stage.
19 A recent discovery in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia’s west coast will also likely generate billions for Namibia.
20 Both the Shell and Total consortia have massive finds in Namibia at Venus1 and Graff1.
21 Industry insiders are full of praise about how revolutionary this find will be for Namibia.
22 The find has been described as the largest ever made (https://bit.ly/3xFH9kr) in sub-Saharan Africa.
23 The critical problem for South Africa is that this groundbreaking find is in the southern reaches of Namibian territorial waters.
24 Neighboring offshore blocks in South African waters are likely to have very similar potential.
25 Recent finds in exploration block 11B/12B 175km off the southern coast of South Africa already promise to be a catalyst for South Africa.
26 Properly developed, they could easily save PetroSA and give our economy a big boost, save foreign currency, grow local businesses and develop skills without draining the treasury.
27 But investors have other attractive global options.
28 We need to ensure that South Africa becomes a practical investment destination compared to these rival opportunities.
29 What about renewables?
30 As we accelerate our move toward renewable energy, there remains a need to support intermittent wind and solar power with reliable, dispatchable baseload power.
31 We can do that with coal, like we do now.
32 Or more economically, with around 30% less (https://bit.ly/3LpQwum) CO2 emissions when using liquefied natural gas (LNG).
33 At a time when South Africa’s energy supply shortfall has become apparent, LNG also offers a short-term solution as it can be imported, through the network of South African and Mozambican ports, and connected to existing infrastructure.
34 of pipes relatively quickly.
35 At the same time, we can continue to expand our encouraging and rapidly expanding renewable energy PPP program, while also continuing onshore and offshore exploration for domestic natural gas resources, for which there are already encouraging signs.
37 And of these options, gas is the least harmful (https://bit.ly/3LpZc3P).
38 Gas will enable renewable energy at a lower environmental cost, giving us energy independence in the medium term to continue investing in renewable energy.
39 This is the “just transition” in practical action.
40 Realistically, meeting our energy needs means multiple generation and distribution technologies.
41 In the short term, it will also sometimes be necessary to offset climate commitments and energy supply.
42 Here, LNG also offers a solution: the reliability of oil and coal, with lower environmental impacts.
43 We must protect the planet and act responsibly.
44 We must develop skills and transition to new economy jobs.
45 At the same time, there is no material quality of life and industrial development without energy.
46 As the ANC‘s elective conference approaches, the ruling party would do well to consider that oil and gas exploration could also generate capital spending, infrastructure and thousands of jobs in the electricity sector, with even more knock-on effects.
47 Right now, just under 10% of our energy comes from renewables.
48 The rest mainly coal.
49 While this is changing, changing coal demand and investment is not proving easy.
50 The policy framework, Integrated Resource Plan, Gas Master Plan and related licensing and regulatory instruments need rapid simplification and integration to make investment attractive and easy.
51 Investment flows to markets that are attractive, safe and ready.
52 The upcoming African Oil Week (https://Africa-OilWeek.com) in Cape Town will be a great opportunity for South Africa to show that we are open to the oil and gas business.
53 We need large-scale international investment, and oil and gas exploration and LNG can provide it.