Maritime transport and logistics represent valuable opportunities for African companies and entrepreneurs in the energy sector in 2022 (by NJ Ayuk)

Accra officials hope to change that. At the end of October, Dr Kofi Karduah Sarpong, CEO of GNPC, explained that his company was working to expand its stakes in two large offshore blocks because it wanted to acquire the capacity to develop oil and gas reserves on its own.

“We need to strengthen the capacity of GNPC to become an operator,” he recently told reporters. “If we do this, in 15 years we should mature and be alone. “

This is an ambitious goal and we in the African Energy Chamber applaud the GNPC for its ambition. We wish Dr Sarpong every success and look forward to the day when GNPC and other upstream African operators reap the lion’s share of the revenue generated from upstream oil and gas operations.

But we also agree with Dr Sarpong that this is a goal that cannot be achieved quickly. It’s a long-term perspective and a steep climb that will require a lot of internal investment and capacity building.

It is also not a target that every African state should strive to achieve. Some countries do not have the resources to justify the creation of an NOC with the capacities that the GNPC hopes to develop. Some countries may choose to follow a different model for managing hydrocarbon reserves – something more akin to the strategy used by Guyana, the South American state that has chosen to leave the international oil companies (IOC ) assume all exploration and development costs rather than taking an equity stake in its offshore blocks.

However, there are still opportunities for virtually all African states to support the oil and gas sector in one way or another. The African Energy Chamber has worked to convey the message that Oil Service Providers (OSPs) have an important role to play. Petroleum services are not limited to specialized technology-intensive services such as drilling or seismic surveys carried out under direct contracts, but also include non-specialized labor-intensive services such as catering. and cleaning carried out as a subcontractor. This is why we have devoted an entire section of our Africa Energy Outlook 2022 to the demand and perspectives of short-term PSOs and through the energy transition. We want African countries – and African businesses – to explore these opportunities!

Opportunities in shipping and logistics

One particular area where African companies can stand out is that of shipping and logistics.

On the one hand, the demand for these services is both enormous and unavoidable. Shipping and logistics operators are crucial links in the oil and gas supply chain, in that they are responsible for moving goods, parts, equipment and workers to places where they can be retrieved. to the places where they are needed.

Some of these operators have discovered that oil and gas development can provide the foundation for a successful business. Universal Africa Lines Alliance (UAL Alliance), for example, started delivering freight to West Africa in 1973 and has now established itself as a stable provider of professional freight handling services, focusing on freight. miscellaneous and project cargoes for the oil and gas industry. UAL Alliance transports goods between the US Gulf of Mexico and Europe to West Africa and vice versa and also offers intra-African service on the West Coast of Africa.

UAL Alliance is an international company, but it is also firmly anchored in Africa, serving the ports of Ghana, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Angola. In addition, it also built the K5 Freeport & Oil Center, its own logistics and supply base in the port of Malabo in Equatorial Guinea – and in doing so, it has helped create additional jobs for the contractors and subcontractors who have helped build the base, as well as the businesses that now use the base. It has also helped to sustain African companies that have acted as its shipping agents, such as Akon-Donluis in Equatorial Guinea, Action Rapide Transit (ART) in Gabon and Logistics Support Services (Pty) Ltd in Namibia.

The exploration and development of oil and gas off the west coast of Africa has already occupied UAL Alliance for almost 40 years, and the company is looking to expand over the next few years. He said he hoped to eventually settle in East Africa – presumably, so that he could start offering the same kind of services and support to emerging hydrocarbon producers such as Mozambique, Tanzania and the United States. Uganda.

As he does, he will not only explore new opportunities in the region. It will also create new opportunities – new opportunities for local shipping agents, new opportunities for local service providers who will build, repair and maintain its delivery facilities and offices, etc.

And UAL Alliance is far from the only indigenous shipping and logistics company in Africa with success in the oil and gas sector. Many others were strongly represented at African Energy Week in Cape Town and some signed agreements with international oil companies. Some additional examples include OML Africa Logistics, based in Nairobi, and Luba Freeport, which provides handling and transportation of petroleum equipment in East Africa; Seabird Ghana, a marine logistics and oil and gas service provider for West Africa; and Petromarine Nigeria Limited, a provider of marine logistics services to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

Building the right foundation

We are also seeing African states taking proactive steps to support the success of maritime oil and gas logistics operations. Look at Senegal, which is building a high-tech and operationally efficient “superport” near Ndayane, 50 kilometers southeast of Dakar. The project, dubbed the “Port of the future”, is part of the expansion of the country’s energy sector, launched after the discovery of approximately 450 billion cubic meters of natural gas. In addition, Senegal is taking steps to ensure that ordinary people benefit from its growing maritime infrastructure by building local capacities. Macky Sall’s Emerging Senegal Plan is specifically designed to, among other things, create opportunities for local service companies. Senegal also encourages capacity building in maritime logistics through its National Petroleum Institute and the Dakar Business School. Aguibou Ba is the executive director of the National Institute of Oil and Gas (INPG), has also implemented related programs to accelerate capacity in this field through the state institute.

Another positive example is Mozambique, which is developing a national strategy for a blue economy which addresses, in addition to fishing and aquaculture, the extractive and hydrocarbon sectors of the country. The plan will also include a regional maritime security plan. With a plan in place, hopefully followed by policies that support local entrepreneurs and capacity building, Mozambique’s PSOs will be in a strong position to be successful in maritime logistics.

The African Energy Chamber believes that there are many opportunities for African companies and entrepreneurs who are ready to explore the shipping and logistics sector. Now is the time to grab hold of them.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the African Energy Chamber.

© Press release 2021

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