Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, says Africa cannot be an import destination for refined products when the continent is endowed with crude oil.
While major oil companies are withdrawing from Africa’s downstream sector, there have been new oil discoveries on the continent, South Africa being no exception.
“Discoveries of significant oil and gas in our neighbouring SADC member countries are encouraging. They will strengthen energy, support other by-products, such as fertilisers, to boost agricultural production.
“This means we must invest in beneficiation to boost manufacturing,” the Minister said.
Mantashe was addressing about 2 000 delegates at the official opening of the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Africa Oil Week is a prestigious annual conference that brings together petroleum industry captains, government leaders, academia, and non-governmental organisations to deliberate on various matters in the oil and gas sector.
Mantashe told delegates that Africa’s oil and gas resources can help accelerate and guarantee the continent’s energy security, and drive regional economic development through the processing and beneficiation of petroleum products.
“For a continent that consumes two thirds of her oil produce, exporting the remaining third – according to the Africa Energy Outlook 2022 Report – attempts of the European Union to move away from Russian gas imports are an opportunity for Africa’s oil and gas to earn her income through exports into Europe,” he highlighted.
Mantashe also stressed that imported refined products risk Africa’s economic growth and expose it to unreliable supply.