When IRJ spoke to the South African Oil and Gas Alliance (SAOGA) last year we found a wealth of resources for the oil and gas market within the nonprofit organization. SAOGA’s aim is to promote the growth of oil and gas players in South Africa.
IRJ catches up again with Warwick Blyth, Executive Director of SAOGA about new developments.
SAOGA has seen a lot of impact within the east and west coast of Africa. “We’ve obviously had a strong oil and gas upstream in West Africa for quite some time. Angola has taken off and become unbelievable. We’ve certainly benefitted from that,” says Blyth.
Unprecedented opportunities are opening up for SAOGA with activities commencing throughout Africa and not just in the South. “We’ve seen an opening up of exploration activity in Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. There’s quite a lot of interest on the East side,” says Blyth. “It’s beneficial having that sort of position between East and West where you have oil and gas activity on both sides of Africa.”
Blyth has seen a growth within the industry and noticed a lot of foreign companies are choosing to move locations to Cape Town and the rest of South Africa.
He says, “There has been an uptake in the number of foreign companies in Cape Town. East and southern Africa is now an interesting place.”
Despite some licensing issues SAOGA is interested in doing offshore drilling.
“In terms of domestic activity one of the main things is that we had a licensing issue. New laws were passed and now, we changed over from the old regime to the new regime. A lot of the exploration companies really had to wait to get these licenses converted. We’re really looking into doing offshore drilling. The pre-rig is starting to be done,” he says.
SAOGA has a dedication to business development and since we last spoke to Blyth in November, the alliance has been working with members to improve their businesses.
We have several roles as an organization. One of them is to help our members develop businesses. We do skills development work and supply development work,” he says. “There is also a big issue around making sure health and safety are in place.”
The organization has also started to become involved with The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The program aims to match buyers and sellers and boost supplier development and upgrading.
An ideal place for business
Blyth believes that the South Africa and the Western Cape is an ideal place for businesses to thrive and has seen an upsurge of interest in the area.
“We have had a lot of the boost from the World Cup. There have been a lot of visitors coming here and seeing what’s here. Getting people to have a look and see what they can do from here is important,” says Blyth. “That’s a key part of building up South Africa.”
Blyth believes that attracting foreign companies is a key element for SAOGA. “It’s important to attract foreign companies as this is a good location to work in Africa. It’s an attractive and viable idea,” he says.
SAOGA has been working hard on their website which has expedited a large amount of growth and information.
“I’m starting an engine to house all information on upstream operators and service companies. There’s more information on the front end than the back end. What we have built is an infrastructure to build content on the web,” he says. “We now have an oil and gas directory that is online now and accessible through the website.”
The website is the catalyst for promotion within SAOGA, and from it they are able to gain worldwide attention. “I see that as a centerpeice to start cataloguing what the industry has here and start promoting here. I think into next year I’d like to start putting marketing budget into promoting around the world,” says Blyth.
SAOGA believes overall that the oil and gas industry in Africa has expanded and moved.
Blyth says, “The oil and gas industry in Africa has shifted East. Southern and Eastern Africa and Cape Town in particular have become a really attractive area in consideration to basing African suppliers here. We are open for business. We are all for people coming here and seeing what is offered. People need to realize what is available on the African continent.”