WHEN the global investment community descends on Cape Town for Africa Oil & Power (AOP) 2019 between 9 and 11 October, a key focal point of the annual conference will be South Africa’s surge as an investment destination across the energy value chain.
Following a major offshore discovery in February, multiple gas agreements and a record setting number of IPP projects online, Africa’s biggest energy consumer is a flashpoint for major project finance activity this year.
According to conference organisers, South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe and his deputy Bavelile Hlongwa will join a line-up of African energy industry leaders and decision-makers on the AOP 2019 stage.
The conference is hosted in partnership with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the South African Oil and Gas Alliance and will feature speakers from state-owned enterprises CEF Group, SANEDI, PetroSA, NERSA, iGas and PASA.
Africa Oil & Power CEO Guillaume Doane said: “South Africa’s energy profile is rising, thanks in great part to policy reforms, industry privatization and a landmark offshore discovery earlier this year. The energy economy is steering away from coal and towards gas and renewables, a trend which we are very excited to feature at this year’s conference.”
He said AOP 2019 would create opportunities for investment and encourage intra-Africa cooperation across the oil, gas and power sectors, through the theme #MakeEnergyWork.
The three-day program will discuss key topics including the future of gas in Africa’s energy mix, exploration and production, the role of renewable energy in closing the power gap and project financing.
With a special focus on the developments in South Africa’s energy sector, the conference will cast a spotlight on the country’s exploration and production prospects, the evolution of the power sector – specifically in the Kwa-Zulu Natal and Northern Cape provinces – and unpack the country’s energy strategies expressed in the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
The draft IRP proposes to implement 46 percent coal-generated power, 16 percent gas, 15 percent wind, 10 percent solar PV, six percent hydro, four percent pumped storage, 2.5 percent nuclear and one percent concentrated solar power and plans to supply an estimated 20,000 MW of the additional 29,000 MW electricity the country needs by 2030.
Although the IRP remains to be finalised, the country is already seeing moves by public and private sector actors towards some of the plans expressed in the draft IRP.
Last month, Transnet announced its cost-sharing agreement with the International Finance Corporation to conclude a feasibility study for the development of an LNG storage and regasification terminal in the Kwa-Zulu Natal and South Africa’s Strategic Fuel Find announced its tender for a refinery project in South Sudan.
On its shift towards clean power, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) will continue to be instrumental in the country diversifying its energy mix, having already brought online 102 IPP projects from the four bid windows and over $17.5 billion in investments.
A prime example of an initiative making energy work, the REIPPPP has created over 38,000 jobs and contributed generously to the national grid through projects including the country’s largest concentrated solar IPP project, the 100 MW Kathu Solar Park in the Northern Cape, the 135,8 MW Cookhouse Wind Farm in the Eastern Cape and the 135.5 MW Gounda Wind Farm in the Western Cape.
Mantashe told members of parliament recently that the IRP would be finalised by September, and explained that “It is a summary of what we must do and gives us a framework to our approach to energy. We can’t lobby for any technology over the other. Our preoccupation is energy supply and security”.
In 2018, the AOP conference featured the participation of Karén Breytenbach, South Africa’s former Head of the Department of Energy’s Independent Power Producer Office and Hon. Jeff Radebe, South Africa’s former Minister of Energy.
This year, the conference line-up includes H.E Macky Sall, President of Senegal; H.E Diamantino Azevedo, Minister of Mining and Petroleum of Angola; H.E. Mahaman Laouan Gaya, Secretary General of APPO; H.E .Mouhamadou Maktar Cisse, Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Senegal; Hon. Awow Daniel Chuang, Minister of Petroleum of South Sudan and Hon. Tsukutlane Au, Minister of Energy and Meteorology of Lesotho.