Dec 05, 2008
Oil and gas should not be viewed as Africa’s curse, industry expert assertsBack
Siberia|Africa|Exploration|Gas|Africa|Algeria|Angola|Canada|Egypt|Libya|Nigeria|Somalia|South Africa|Crude Oil|Direct And Indirect Economic Benefits Oil|Energy|Oil|Oil And Gas|Oil Companies Dates|Oil Exploration|Oil Exploration Industry|Oil Industry|Oil Reserves|Duncan Clarke|Locomotive|Alaska
© Reuse this
“The reasons are that the oil industry has direct and indirect economic effects: it opens remote areas, and brings in foreign direct investment; it brings in technologies and companies; it creates employment; and it generates revenues for States.
It benefits countries’ balances of payments. It is the leading edge of investment into the continent. Oil is the locomotive pulling the continent forward – although it does occasionally stall. There has never been a proper analysis of the direct and indirect economic benefits oil and gas bring to Africa.”
He points out that, regarding crude oil, Africa is a continent of great promise and prospectivity. “The oil exploration industry has been active in Africa for over 100 years.”
Nor is it only foreign companies that are active in the African oil industry. “There are now 15 or so African countries which have indigenous independent oil companies,” he reports. “In fact, in Nigeria, the history of independent oil companies dates back 50 years. But the proliferation of such enterprises across the continent is new. It is a good sign. International companies need local partners.”
Then there are Africa’s State-owned oil companies. These, too, have proliferated in recent years. Twelve such companies have been created since the start of the twenty-first century, and today only 15 African countries do not have State-owned oil exploration and/or production companies. “The biggest African State-owned oil companies are in Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Libya and Nigeria,” says Clarke. “The rest, apart from South Africa’s PetroSA, are relatively small. In general, they are improving in quality and some are already world class.”
Of course, there are many non-African oil companies active across the continent. These include more than 50 major inde- pendents, about 25 “superindependents” and the top five “supermajors”, as well as a surprisingly large number of really big non-African State-owned companies. “In 2000, there were seven foreign State-owned oil companies in Africa,” he states.
“Today, 2008, there are about 30. Together, State-owned oil companies own 90% of the world’s oil reserves and represent a large and growing group. Non-African State-owned oil companies are much more dominant in African upstream exploration and production than are African State-owned companies outside their home bases.”
Oil exploration activities are running at high levels across the continent. Some 500 oil juniors are active in Africa, includ- ing local companies – Egyptians, Nigerians and South Africans, besides many others. Clarke estimates that this year will see 470 exploration wells drilled across the continent, in comparison with 170 in 2000 and an average of 280 from 1987 to 1997.
“There remains quite considerable unexploited potential in Africa,” he highlights. The continent now accounts for 13% of world oil output and 9% of global oil reserves – and the continent’s reserves are increasing. And there is also natural gas as well.
Some African countries have more gas than oil. Further, Africa is a much easier place to work than the far north (Siberia, Alaska, northern Canada) or the deep ocean. “Africa is now the world’s number one energy capital expenditure destination.”
All this is a blessing, because Africa is a continent of considerable underdevelopment and great poverty. Some 70% of Africans still live in subsistence economies, and about 50% live on less than a dollar a day. Africa accounts for only 4% of the world’s electricity, and 75% of this is found in just three countries – Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.
It is forecast by the United Nations that Africa’s population will reach two-billion by 2050, of whom 50% will dwell in urban areas, and 70% of these urbanites will live in shanties. “Poverty in Africa needs to be solved by high, sustained, secular rates of economic growth,” highlights Clarke.
(Duncan Clarke is the author of The Battle for Barrels and Empires of Oil; his latest book, Crude Con-tinent: The Struggle for Africa’s Oil Prize, was published in October.)
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other News This Week News
Updated 15 minutes ago Barend Petersen has been appointed nonexecutive director and chairperson of Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium. This comes after London-listed Evraz last week announced that it would sell a 34% stake in the steel producer to South Africa-based investor Macrovest, which...
Updated 1 hour 1 minute ago Labour laws contributed to the prolonged, violent strikes the country has seen in various industries, the National Employers' Association of South Africa (Neasa) said on Wednesday. "While we agree that the current labour legislation is not a direct or the only driver...
Updated 1 hour 35 minutes ago The 100 days target of creating 1.5-million housing opportunities is set to build houses for the poor and open the housing market for those who cannot access home loans. Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said this, on Tuesday, when she briefed members of the...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The Built Environment unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a cost-competitive ultrathin concrete pavement surface that, for the upgrading of unpaved roads to paved roads, is more durable than many other pavement alternatives...
The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), based at Sutherland in the Karoo region in the Northern Cape province, is promising to become an important instrument for research into dark matter. "SALT is shaping up to be very important for answering questions about...
The South African tool, die and mouldmaking (TDM) industry is being revitalised to locally produce the tools, dies, moulds and fixtures required by the manufacturing sector. Local TDM capability is key to enable the manufacturing industry to remain competitive, says...
Misfortune often finds its roots in the smallest of things. Such as a centimetre or two. Or is that in inch? Perhaps a foot? Swedish or Dutch? The French had reason to blush in May as it became apparent that national rail operator SNCF had ordered 2 000 trains that...
The repositioning of the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M Seta) and its business processes will ensure improved performance in reaching strategic targets and in providing customer service.