Stakeholders in the African downstream oil industry met at the Westin Grand Hotel, in Cape Town, in March as part of the African Refiners Association (ARA) week to discuss how to invigorate investment in the refining and distribution sectors of all African countries, from the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope, to meet the rising energy demand of a growing continent.
The recent drop in oil prices also places more focus on the downstream rather than upstream sector of the oil industry.
ARA, a Swiss-registered nonprofit organisation that represents refiners; storage, distribution and marketing companies; and petroleum regulators from across Africa, held its annual general meeting as part of ARA week.
At a time of increasing realisation that inefficient and poor-quality fuel supply have the potential to constrain rapid economic growth across Africa, limiting the continent’s international competitiveness for goods and services, as well as intra-African trade, this conference featured key executives involved in the future of the industry, such as International Energy Agency chief economist and director Dr Fatih Birol, Dangote Group president and CEO Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Vitol Group president and CEO Ian Taylor and African Union Commission, Department of Energy and Infrastructure senior policy officer Atef Marzouk.
How to create an enabling environment for investment in the petroleum product supply chain was a major topic of discussion among international refining, trading, distribution and financing experts during ARA week.
The ARA was formed in 2006 to provide a pan-African voice for the African oil supply, refining and distribution industry. The ARA represents not only African refinery members but also many product importers, storage companies, marketers and government regulators. Its yearly conference is the only gathering place for the downstream oil industry in Africa.