BY SEYIFUNMI LUMEKO
The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is proud to announce that South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has declared its full support of African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, scheduled to take place in Cape Town on the 9th-12th of November. Led by Hon. Minister Gwede Mantashe, the DMRE has officially endorsed Africa’s premier energy event, partnering with AEW 2021 to promote the event, mobilize regional and international dignitaries, policymakers and investors, and position it as the continent’s leading energy conference in 2021 and beyond.
Under the leadership of Hon. Gwede Mantashe, the DMRE has made significant progress in driving exploration, accelerating power sector developments, and establishing the country as an attractive and enabling destination for investment. Officially endorsed by the Government of South Africa, AEW 2021 will provide an exclusive platform for the promotion of the DMRE’s policies, projects and prerogatives, showcasing the significant opportunities present in South Africa’s energy industry, and providing valuable insight into the country’s energy future.
South Africa has significant mineral resources spanning across the country’s nine provinces, and by partnering with the event, AEW 2021 will showcase them to global investors, driving associated development countrywide. Notably, the country has significant coal, gold, diamond, and platinum group metal deposits, boasting the world’s largest gold resource in the Witwatersrand Basin and an estimated 320 million tons of economically exploitable coal reserves. Additionally, following the offshore Brulpadda gas discovery made by Total in 2019, the discovery of gas condensate fields during 2019 and 2020 have garnered significant interest from investors. While studies are still being conducted to confirm the commercial viability of these discoveries, the country’s potential is estimated at 9 billion barrels of oil and roughly 60 trillion cubic feet of offshore gas.
In the meantime, the country continues to rely on oil and gas imports from neighbouring countries to sustain its economy. With an adequate natural gas supply from the Pande-Temane field in Mozambique, and pipeline infrastructure enabling the transportation to South Africa’s hungry market, both regional integration and efficient domestic refining capacity have supplied the market. However, with potential domestic reserves, the country is focusing on upstream exploration to provide a sustainable domestic market and supply and AEW 2021 will promote this.
Meanwhile, the country is committed to enhancing access to electricity and energy efficiency and plans to diversify its energy mix to do so. Despite boasting half of Africa’s electricity generation, South Africa continues to experience significant power shortages and is ramping up developments to address this. With coal continuing to dominate power generation, and the country pursuing cleaner sources in the wake of the energy transition, focus has been redirected to renewable energy and gas-to-power.
With the implementation of some of the most progressive and successful energy regulations worldwide, South Africa is rapidly becoming a world leader in renewable power generation. Driven by the National Development Plan (NDP) – a strategy that ensures the utilization of alternative power sources such as solar, wind, natural gas and hydro as a means to combat power deficiencies and drive the energy transition – South Africa is aggressively pursuing investment, with the plan to increase domestic capacity by 20,000MW by 2030. In conjunction with the NDP, the implementation of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) program – a comprehensive strategy targeting the procurement of 13,225MW from independent power producers by 2025 – has accelerated clean energy developments while significantly enhancing private sector participation. With the launch of the REIPPP’s bid window 5 in March 2021, South Africa has seen a significant increase in renewable capacity. AEW 2021 will build on this momentum, uniting investors with key opportunities in South Africa’s growing sector.
“South Africa is well on its way to becoming a global powerhouse. The country’s progressive national strategies and implemented regulations are not only driving investment in its resource-rich sector but significantly enhancing private sector participation. There is an abundance of opportunities in South Africa’s energy market and AEW 2021 will promote them all. Official endorsement by the DMRE is huge and we are confident that as partners, we will position AEW 2021 as one of the most valuable energy conferences worldwide, and South Africa as the ideal investment destination. The DMRE will be instrumental in attracting global investors, policymakers and stakeholders, driving development in both South Africa and the African continent at large,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.
Under the terms of the partnership, AEW 2021 will be an officially endorsed event by the DMRE, with the Department promoting the event on its own communication platforms. By mobilizing the department’s extensive network to attract international dignitaries, policymakers, investors, and key industry executives, the DMRE has committed to driving AEW 2021’s success and positioning Africa as the leading event destination worldwide. The DMRE considers AEW 2021 to be a vehicle of investment mobilization in upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas, as well as renewable energy opportunities and the energy transition. The partnership seeks to emphasize the event’s position, driving increased investment and spurring energy growth continent-wide.