Sasol hopes to boost gas and oil upstream activities to more than a fifth of turnover by 2030 through further exploration and resource development. Photo: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency(ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Sasol hopes to boost its gas and oil upstream activities to more than a fifth of turnover by 2030 through further exploration and resource development activities on the continent, and in southern Africa in particular.  

This was according to Sasol Exploration and Production International (E&PI) senior vice-president Dr Gilbert Yevi, who was interviewed by Business Report while he attended the Oil Week 2019 conference in Cape Town. E&PI’s operation contribute around 2 percent of Sasol’s turnover.

He said the group had two key messages for the industry at the conference: The first was that Sasol was serious about addressing its environmental issues.

The second was that it was committed to finding and developing additional gas resources for the region, in partnerships, for use as a transitional, environmentally friendly energy source, through the transition from a coal-based economy.

Sasol’s E&PI manages and develops Sasol’s upstream oil and gas exploration and production interests. Gas from Mozambique was currently at the centre of its strategy in southern Africa.

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It also has offshore oil and gas exploration interests off the KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique coasts, an equity stake on oil-producing assets in Gabon, and a 50 percent interest in shale gas interests in British Columbia, Canada.

He said E&PI wished to extend its gas supply from southern Mozambique and to grow its gas portfolio in the southern cone of Africa, in addition to growing its portfolio in West Africa.

In Mozambique, Sasol and partners have been a catalyst for socio-economic development. Sasol’s capital investment of more than $3 billion (R44.37bn), day-to-day operations, social investment and skills development had contributed more than 6 percent to Mozambique's gross domestic product from 2004 to 2018.

Dr Yevi said they were looking to further develop their gas interests, including shale gas and coal-based methane, in other parts of southern Africa, including in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, Botswana and onshore of the Karoo Basin in South Africa. 

In West Africa, the exploration of oil would continue as well. Offshore off Gabon, Sasol has an about 30 percent non-operating interest in the Etame Marin Permit.

Last week, the Etame 9P appraisal well was successfully drilled to a total depth of 3 127 metres and discovered additional oil in both the Gamba and Dentale oil sands.

“This successful Etame 9P is the first of many appraisal opportunities that have been identified as the potential to create substantial organic value growth for our shareholders. The well adds additional resources between 2.5 and 10.5 million barrels of oil as published by Vaalco, our partner and operator of the fields,” he said.

The global energy market is in a phase of transition due to new technologies and environmental concerns and could potentially become the world's number two fuel by 2030, according to a study by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mineral and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said this week that there had been major gas finds in the eastern part of the continent, especially in Mozambique and Tanzania, and said South Africa was ready to contribute to the development of them.  

Earlier this year. Total and its partners discovered a large gas find off the Mossel Bay coast. Mantashe said the government was confident that this find would spur further interest in the upstream potential of South Africa.

Camillo Atampugre, natural resources director, Absa Corporate and Investment Bank, said South Africa and Africa were an attractive region for international capital to fund upstream projects, primarily because of the material resources base and upside across the continent.

BUSINESS REPORT