South Africa Boosts Energy Security with Oil, Gas Exploration

by Victor Adetimilehin

South Africa is pursuing the development of its oil and gas resources to reduce its dependence on foreign imports and ensure its energy security, a senior official said on Wednesday.  

The Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Dr Nobuhle Nkabane, told the Southern Africa Oil Gas Conference that the country has initiated policy interventions to support the growth of the oil and gas industry, such as the Gas Master Plan and the Upstream Petroleum Development Bill. She said that natural gas, which accounts for at least 3% of South Africa’s energy supply, is a key component of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019 and can help lower its emissions output.

She also highlighted the recent discovery of maiden gas reserves in Mpumalanga, which she said represents a “major boost in electricity generation capacity” as the country seeks to diversify its energy sources. The discovery, made by a company called Renergen, is estimated to contain about 1.8 trillion cubic feet of helium and 6.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The company plans to start production in 2023 and supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to domestic customers.

Nkabane urged African countries to increase their cooperation in oil and gas trade, noting that South Africa imports most of its crude oil from Nigeria and Angola. She also cautioned against exporting gas to Europe at the expense of local and regional markets. She said that as a region, Africa should strive to build a strong oil and gas sector that will drive economic development and create employment opportunities. She mentioned that the South African government collaborate closely with the African Petroleum Producers Organisation and urges more meaningful engagement with the continental body.

South Africa is not the only country in Africa that is exploring its oil and gas potential. In recent years, several discoveries have been made in countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana and Uganda. These discoveries have attracted international investors and raised hopes for economic growth and social development. However, they also pose challenges such as environmental risks, governance issues and security threats.

The Southern Africa Oil Gas Conference, held in Cape Town from 13 to 15 September, aims to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the oil and gas industry in the region. The conference also features an exhibition showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in the sector.

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