ATC140314: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Energy on the Energy Stakeholder Meeting, scheduled on 20 February 2014, dated 12 March 2014


Report of the Portfolio Committee on Energy on the Energy Stakeholder Meeting, scheduled on 20 February 2014, dated 12 March 2014

Theme: “Assessment of Upstream Sector in oil and gas industry ”

1. Opening remarks by the Chairperson, Hon SJ Njikelana

The Chairperson noted that the purpose of the meeting was to get a brief assessment of the upstream sector in the oil and gas industry. The Chairperson indicated that he was approached by a number of stakeholders on legislation, policy and the need for certainty. The Chairperson said that there is evidence of increased interest in oil and gas exploration as attested to by the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA).

The National Development Plan (NDP) and related instruments makes reference to the importance of energy so this Portfolio Committee is obliged to be creative from time to time. The Chairperson did indicate that the Portfolio Committee had a previous meeting on the downstream sector, but the need arose to address issues on the upstream sector as well. This meeting was thus an opportunity for further exposure and the comments and points made will be fed into the legacy report of this Committee to the Fifth Parliament. He further highlighted that part of Parliament’s function is to initiate debate, and public participation is a vital component.

He set out the context, saying that South Africa was seized with formidable challenges of ensuring accessibility, transformation and sustainability to the energy stream and to ensure that whatever is already in existence is refined and improved. He further commented on how the dynamic of oil could influence and change the political and economic development in countries.

2. Members present and stakeholders

Members included Mr SJ Njikelana (Chairperson of the PC on Energy), Mr L Greyling (Member of the PC on Energy) and Mr Letmer (Member of the PC on Mineral Resources)

Stakeholders who were invited included: Department of Energy, PetroSA, Petroleum Agency of SA (PASA), SA Oil and Gas Association (SAOGA), Shell, SASOL, Engen, BPSA, Anadarko, Cairn India, Chevron, SAPIA, Falcon Oil, Kinetiko Energy, SacOil, Sunbird Energy, Total, Trafigura and also representatives from various international accounting firms (Deloitte & Touche, Bowmann Gilfillian, KPMG and Edward Nathan Sonnenburg. )

2. Presentations

2.1. Overview by the Department of Energy (DoE)

Mr Muzi Mkhize, Chief Director, Hydrocarbons Policy, Department of Energy, stated that his presentation focused on creating an enabling environment, and he would thus set out the role of government, and of the private sector and what the future might hold.

The key challenge for government at the moment is the need to achieve a difficult balance between lowering consumer prices, and high input costs, achieving security of supply and meeting the empowerment needs of Historically Disadvantaged South Africans (HDSA) and the BBBEE requirements. Security of supply is key to South Africa, but the challenge is that there should be a need to balance this with higher costs of producing liquid fuels, in comparison to the past system, which contributed to higher consumer prices.

He set out the background to the oil and gas industries, noting that before 2001, the gas industry was not regulated, but the downstream petroleum industry was. The White Paper on Energy of 1998 was adopted, and this, amongst other aims, sought to ensure security of energy supply, and said that the oil and gas industries must be transformed through a statutory framework. The upstream legislation framework was done under the MPRDA. Promotion was done by PASA, and regulatory aspects by DMR.

The DOE dealt with the downstream gas regulatory framework. This was covered by the Gas Act of 2001. This Act sought to promote efficient, effective, sustainable and orderly development and operations, and to facilitate investment.

The gas value chain comprised fields, gathering, transmission, and then distributions to the markets, (large and small), industrial and domestic. There was a resource for gas to liquid conversion at Mossel Bay. There is gas from Mozambique coming to Sasol, but the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) indicated that 15% of new electricity generation capacity is to come from gas. The “anchor customer” for the gas will be the gas-fired power stations. Transmission is one area where government will have to play a major role. Cooperation will be required to make this possible. There will have to be transformation throughout the value chain. Government is currently looking at a gas utilisation strategy. He noted that there are substantial gas resources in Mozambique, and South Africa is in discussion with Mozambique, through the Gas Commission, and there is already trade between the two countries.

The regulation of the downstream sector is covered by the Petroleum Products Act (PPA), which provides for licensing of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. It modernised the old Act, and prohibited certain actions relating to petroleum, and aims to address the balance of power between retailers and wholesalers.

He noted that at present, the DoE was looking at amending the PPA, but this is still a matter which is under discussion and is being dealt with internally.

Mr Mkhize stated that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) regulates the industry, through licenses, attempts to ensure HDSA empowerment and approved tariffs and prices. The Gas Amendment Bill seeks to promote companies in the industry that are owned or controlled by HDSAs, and sets gas sector-specific requirements, promotes equitable provision of gas transmission, storage, distribution, trading, compression, liquefaction and regasification services, and also promotes skills development and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in the gas industry and development of competitive markets for gas and gas services. This Bill is still being discussed at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), there has been a public consultation and the bill should shortly be taken to Cabinet for approval.

He noted that the Petroleum Products Act will also be reviewed and the preparation of a new Bill is being discussed. The Petroleum Pipelines Act will follow the normal process of public participation before formulating the policy.

2.2. Presentation by the PetroSA

Mr Bongani Sayidini, Regional Manager: East Africa, PetroSA, pointed out that the mandate of PetroSA is to operate as a commercial entity and create value for its shareholders and South Africa at large, to advance national objectives in the petroleum industry and complement and promote Government policy and strategic thrust. He noted that the PetroSA strategy needs to be adaptive to the evolving policy landscape of RSA.

PetroSA views security of supply in the context of the Energy Security Master Plan (2007) definition as “Ensuring that diverse energy sources, in sustainable quantities at affordable prices are available to the South African economy, in support of economic growth and poverty alleviation, taking into account environmental management requirements and interactions among economic sectors.

From an upstream perspective diversity implied oil and gas exploration across a geographic spread.

On the West Coast, PetroSA is involved with other companies, including Sunbird Energy, Anadarko and Cairn India. Comparing the South African and other basins, he noted that the basins in South Africa are relatively under explored, although larger. There has been good success in the Outeniqua Basin but this includes some non-commercial discoveries. There is no deep-water drilling in South Africa.

The advent of shale gas has made South Africa realise its potential fortune in shale. South Africa is ranked eighth in the world by the US Energy Information Administration (US EIA) with 390 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas reserves. Shale gas could have a positive impact on the economy through job creation, taxes and royalties, services sector, technology development and increased foreign exchange as well as spin offs to petrochemicals, fertilisers and related industries.

He noted that designating PetroSA as the carrier of the state participation interest in the MPRDA would empower the National Oil Company (NOC) and will allow the State to participate from exploration phase, based on a free carry, to develop technical and commercial knowledge and appreciate the risks. The exploration risks, including geological and financial risks, will be carried by the foreign explorers.

Localization should ideally entail local beneficiation, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), supplier development and human capital development.

He reiterated that the spin offs of localization would be a positive balance of payment, since substantial dollars entering the country would remain in the country. Oil companies will benefit though a smoother flow of suppliers, increasing efficiencies and driving down costs, reliable local supply and harmonious stakeholder relations and reduction in operation costs by keeping expatriate staff to the minimum.

Key considerations to localization would be an assessment of the technological, financial and human resources in the country, identification of the types of services that could be performed by local companies, and the types of goods and services that could be developed in the country. The financial investment required to develop the local goods and services and skills market, would also need to be assessed.

Setting out the skills scenario, he said that PetroSA has been at the forefront of development of core skills, including reservoir engineers and petro-geoscientists. In the past 10 years, the company focused on the development of black South Africans through overseas scholarships secondments and on the job training. There is a Memorandum of Cooperation with Schlumberger to explore setting up a shale gas technology centre in the country to carry out further research in shale gas. He pointed out that Schlumberger already operated in ten of the largest shale basins in USA.

2.3. Presentation by the Petroleum Agency of SA (PASA)

Ms L. Mekwe, Acting CEO, said that oil and gas exploration and production is regulated by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). This Act set out terms and conditions of exploration, production rights in respect of matters finding origins in Liquid Fuels Charter such as the Upstream Training Trust, state participation, good practices and standards. The MPRDA seeks to promote economic growth and development through optimal exploration and production, ensuring that production right holders contribute to socio economic development and ensured development in an orderly and ecologically sustainable manner.

Mr D. van der Spuy, Resource Evaluation Manager, PASA, said he would concentrate on the future prospects on oil and gas resources, but referred Members to the slides on current activities.

Mr van der Spuy said that interest in South Africa has become very high recently and about 20 companies are involved with production and exploration rights. Onshore is also well represented, with about 67 concessions on shore, of local and international companies.

Onshore, the interest in the Karoo was largely in “unconventionals”, in the coal-bearing areas, including biogenic and shale gas. All of this was supported by data availability.

According to PASA, biogenic gas was discovered in the Virginia Area and Evander. PASA explained that biogenetic gas as follows: most gas was produced by thermogenic activity, where heat and pressure in the rock combine to convert biomass to gas. Biogenic gas, on the other hand, is produced by bacteria living underground that metabolises organic material, so to that extent it could perhaps be regarded as a resource that would not run out.

He moved on to describe the shale gas in the Karoo. The US EIA had previously reported that this was estimated at 485 TcF, but now the figure had been reviewed to 390 TcF. This was part of a worldwide study looking at many countries with not much concentration on detail from one country to another. PASA had done its own detailed study and believed that the resource was more likely to be 40 TcF in recoverable resource. This might be smaller than the numbers produced by the EIA, but it is still a significant amount of gas.

He noted that there are several risks faced in relation to gas and oil discoveries. The North Sea yielded significant reserves, although only after 21 oil wells were drilled was the source discovered. The current exploration success rates for conventional resources were around 25%, based on geological and not commercial finds. Commercial success usually requires further drilling. Factors increasing the risk are the regulatory regime, stability of that regime and the countries, markets, and engineering and technological capacity to be found.

The question was asked how a large gas discovery would benefit South Africa. Currently, under the current legislation, an oil and gas exploration company would have to apply for production rights which will then require state participation, BBBEE participation and social development commitments. There will be a revenue stream to the state from company taxation and production royalties, an increase in the security of supply, and a change in the energy mix, to move away from reliance on coal, as well as the potential for increased infrastructure development.

2.4. Presentation by the
SA Oil and Gas Association (SAOGA)

Mr Ebrahim Takolia, Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer, South African Oil and Gas Alliance, explained that the Alliance (SAGOA) is ten years old, and moved from its origins in the ship repair industry to a national organisation. It implements its strategy through a number of task teams

He said that the first question was whether South Africa had an upstream and midstream industry, and his answer to this was that there was no direct industry, but one based on passing trade of rigs and ships, and a number of engineering and other firms based in South Africa provides services and products into East and West African countries. The local upstream work is limited largely to Mossgas and the mid-stream work to PetroSA’s new work and, since the current refineries was built long ago, to maintenance of those refineries.

Mr Takolia said that the oil and gas value chain is based largely on risks and skills. At the early stages, it could cost upwards of R20 billion to do offshore exploration. South Africa did not manufacture rigs, or the cement going into the well or casing. It could supply some of the services but it cost US$500 000 a day to run the rig, and USD$1 million a day to do the drilling. In South Africa the opportunities for rig work is limited to case equipment and crew.

Mr Takolia pointed out that oil and gas exploration also provides limited opportunities for BBBEE involvement; because there is such low certainty on recovery of funding, there is consequently not much opportunity for BBBEE entrepreneurs to access funding, and any BBBEE partners will have to put in equity themselves. There is potential for skills development but the risk is that offshore exploration might not yield the results expected, in which case those who had undergone the training would look for opportunities elsewhere in the world and those skills would move to other countries.

He noted that as projects moves into later stages, the risks and funding aspects changes. The upstream area is one involving “a calculated roll of the dice” and he cited that Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania had all secured exploration resources. If South Africa were to get to that stage, it can then look at how to bring products onshore and into the markets.

He noted that at the moment, there is not much of a local market for gas. Only 2% of primary energy in the country is derived from gas, and there is no distribution network, except for one combined power station. The lack of such network is a limiting factor. He said that there is a need to look at developing a gas market, so that primary energy supplied by gas can rise to the levels of other countries, where it is currently around 20%.

Mr Takolia stated that there are some areas where it is possible to look for fabrication, but it will have to be specific. For instance, South Africa manufactures pressure vessels. However, in respect of offshore exploration, and to some extent hydraulic fracturing, it does not have the technology, or it will take too long to build up skills and expertise to manufacture these high-technology components.

Mr Takolia then touched upon the future of oil and gas. South Africa has significant potential for upstream activity, based on what is happening in South Africa, but it is small in terms of production and reserves on a global basis. Africa has 27 million square kilometres, and there continues to be more discoveries. Engineering and other firms working elsewhere in Africa often base themselves in South Africa, because this country has infrastructure that they find to be useful. There are some major projects – mostly upgrades of crude and gas refineries- but the main project is the plant in Mozambique.

3. Discussions

  • The question was posed to PetroSA as to why have they not achieved their mandate, despite being in existence for over ten years. PetroSA’s initial response was that the question be directed to the Ministry of Energy. The Chairperson however pointed out that the mandate is a public position. The follow-up question was what proportion of crude oil is currently imported to SA via PetroSA. PetroSA’s response was that response is that they do not procure 30% of all crude consumed, in line with the Energy Security Master Plan of 2007. The refineries using crude, already has systems in terms of their procurement of crude and some supply themselves, e.g. BP. This new mandate has to be further developed. PetroSA added that the 30% procurement remains part of PetroSA’s plans and that the NOC continues to work closely and consult the Department of Energy on the strategic stock petroleum policy, which is still in draft and yet to be finalised.
  • PetroSA stated that there are some highly prospective countries who have implemented internal programmes in subsidising, in relation to safer fuels, and such subsidies can drive down prices for the consumers, the country must be prospective in terms of resources, however, for this to happen.
  • Mr Takolia stated that his understanding of “upstream” is exploration happening domestically. The only current stream in South Africa is through Mossgas, which is the reason why he questioned whether there is enough of an upstream industry. Much of the current upstream industry work, such as the rig work, actually relates to regional activity in other areas, mostly in West Africa, but also South Asia.
  • Mr Takolia said that the current industry for engineering and pipeline and construction maintenance and support is worth about R20 billion, and that can be expected to grow to about R80 billion in South Africa. He repeated, however, that this comes mostly from servicing other projects in Africa. Whilst there is some domestic activity, mostly from refinery upgrades, final decisions whether to proceed with major upgrades had not yet been made. In the main, it is engineering and support services that are offered to the upstream industry.
  • Anardarko, South Africa, spoke to experiences in Mozambique, where the largest gas discoveries were made. This company moved into Mozambique in 2006 and discovered reserves of about 100 TcF. Anadarko pointed out that the local spend in South Africa, with the exploration project, was $550 million, and he emphasised that this is the spend in South Africa that flowed over directly to this country from what was being done in Mozambique. From that figure, it is possible to assess the spending from other projects. A lot of the spending was with local companies who were providing heavy engineering services, security services, aviation services and others. In 2013 there was also a R515 million spent also in supporting local businesses in Mozambique, but that came off quite a low base. The industrial base in Mozambique is smaller, but this was meaningful spending, and it will grow. In every country in which Anadarko operates, it will also spend on corporate social responsibility, including training, supporting health services, and other environmental matters. The project in Mozambique would mean, for the country, that Anadarko exports of 20 million tonnes per annum, or 400 000 tonnes of crude per day, and that is roughly equivalent to what South Africa was importing every day.
  • Anadarko then continued to point out what companies will require, in order to work in South Africa. The largest companies are mainly concerned with operating in countries where there is a reasonable regulatory environment, to allow them to achieve a reasonable rate of return, with stability. The projects last for about 30 years, and the whole continuum is looked at, not individual phases. That means that, over the long term, there has to be certainty and stability, and assurances are needed of reasonable and potentially good returns.
  • Badino Gas, said that this gas company was a “new mover” that had started recently, from scratch. Badimo stated that it was important to have had the introduction of the MPRDA, in 2002, because it allowed new industry regulation and particularly aimed to allow HDSAs to participate and play a role. Some HDSAs decided to do this but found themselves facing serious constraints, which include a lack of understanding as to the challenges and obstacles facing the new players. The whole idea is to allow new business to contribute to the GDP of the country. If a system is looking for investment, fresh ideas, and fresh capital to flow into the country, certain things had to be embraced, and that include the need for predictability and certainty. Badimo stated that the number of changes in the policy areas is creating uncertainty and flight of capital. Many of the new players did not have capital because the financial players do not understand the gas sector. Those from outside the country can go to capital markets in Australia and Canada, to raise their capital, and would end up buying out the smaller players and continue to dominate in this environment.
  • Mr Takolia referred to developments in the Saldanha Bay area. He pointed out that there are some good developments. The real potential, according to SAOGA, lies in bringing gas onshore and looking at fabrication and potential assembly of perhaps land-based rigs for shale gas. There might be gas pipes brought in from gas fields, should exploration prove economically viable, and it is possible to look at power generation offshore to alleviate the whole North/South power transfer. Saldanha Bay is an industrial development zone and there is a submission for it to be a customs control area, where companies will pay 15% instead of 25% tax, with job creation rebates and a whole host of other developments. If there is domestic exploration, onshore or offshore, it would enhance viability and potential of the country.
  • Mr N Adams, from a petroleum company, asked for some opinions on investment in petroleum. He is a director and founder shareholder of his company and plays a significant role in getting people to come and invest. Today, he is significantly more concerned and significantly less willing to put money in, given the current regulatory environment. He agreed that certainty is needed. Offshore exploration is already extremely high risk and it does not make sense to increase that with more regulatory uncertainty. Companies may be willing to gamble small amounts money but the further up the value chain, large amounts of money are needed to be committed, for longer periods.
  • Mr P Eardley-Taylor, Executive form Standard Bank said that they are talking to other people about the potential in this sector. Standard Bank is excited about the prospects, on paper, and believes that exploration could offer significant benefits to many people He noted that he would support and endorse comments made about the regulatory situation. Huge amounts of capital are needed in this sector. He noted that nobody had yet touched upon “the elephant in the room” – which was the route for gas to the market. There were state owned entities, such as PetroSA and Transnet, who are suppose to be dealing with that. There are certain economic benefits to be gained overall from exploration. Standard Bank has put together its own set of data, with calculations by economists, and these projected that if South Africa were to make finds equivalent to those in Ghana, it could wipe out the whole deficit of foreign payments in one year. The shale gas blocks could, on estimate, create 210 000 jobs per block. One of the points not yet raised was the sheer scale of expenditure through exploration activities that would take place, domestically, which would create more jobs and opportunities for HDSAs.
  • Ms Reinet van Zyl, Energy Manager, ArcelorMittal (Saldanha Plant), said that her company, being in the manufacturing and beneficiation arena, is hungry for affordable fuel sources. It is not just having the energy that matters, but getting a fuel source that is competitive to the coal-based sources. If gas is found, the opportunities will be vast, and would unlock beneficiation. The question is the time line. There is clearly some activity and movement, but the question is how long it might take before there is a commercial gas source in Saldanha. Another question related to price. She said it is necessary to consider how this might be expedited. She noted the earlier statements that an exploration company may have to drill 21 wells before finding one that was commercially viable, but noted also the lack of infrastructure as a major concern. Ultimately, these developments are there, but South Africa is not yet positioned to take advantage of any opportunities immediately, and she felt that such positioning and preparation is crucial.
  • Mr L Greyling (ID) said that there are obviously huge potential, which is why so many industry players chose to attend this session. He thought that more than anything, policy certainty is needed and made the point that policy should not act as a disincentive. The policy and legal environment must be right so that people are willing to put money into long term investment. The Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) is another “huge elephant in the room”, although he appreciated that the industry players are probably not willing to air their criticisms as at the end of the day they had to apply for the licences. However, that is not something that he believes will be resolved any time soon, as the amendments to the MPRDA will most likely not be passed by this Parliament, and there are still many points to get right. The next Parliament should be asked to make this a number one priority, and to get the regulatory and legal frameworks right, to show benefits for industry players.
  • Mr Greyling further pointed out that other useful aspects raised related to the issues around the Energy Master Plan and the IRP updates. The amount allocated to gas at this stage is probably too small to generate the infrastructure investment required, such as Liquid Natural Gas terminals and pipelines down the coast.
  • Sasol said that some valid points were made. Sasol indicated that they would want to see a more integrated approach, and by integration, it means between the government departments of Energy, Mineral Resources, Science and Technology, Trade and Industry and National Treasury, to ensure that policy formulation is cohesive and made in the right context. According to Sasol, Mr Mkhize (DoE) said there are challenges, but that they can be overcome by involving industry earlier in the process of consultation. The right term to use is actually “collaboration” rather than “consultation”.
  • Mr Kerwin Rana, CEO, Sunbird Energy, explained that Sunbird is developing a gas field off the West Coast. In the Orange Basin, over R1 billion has been spent, with eleven wells drilled and four has been production facilities. Sunbird is aiming for first gas in 2018, which means financial close roughly in 2015. He said that this Basin has been a great regulatory success for PetroSA and Sunbird. South Africa is such a mature mining environment with thousands of boreholes drilled, and this makes it surprising that the hydrocarbons are under-explored.

4. Closing remarks by the Chairperson

In closing, the Chairperson expressed his gratitude that so many stakeholders had again proven the value of these stakeholder meetings and will welcome inputs in future. He hoped that the Fifth Parliament will continue with this type of valuable engagement.

He proposed that the DoE needed to take several matters further. Departments such as National Treasury should be present in future meetings, as it would have been useful to hear comments on incentives. He noted that the Department of Mineral Resources was invited to attend but it was under substantial pressure itself and that they were unable to attend. It would have also been helpful to have had representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs present in the meeting as well.

He said that the Committee observed how other countries build their industries through synergy. Good working relations are very important and he noted that there is a huge challenge, in South Africa, of information asymmetry and ancillary matters include job creation. Various pointers to the need to remedy the challenges have been made. The investment climate for infrastructure is an important point, and he hopes that the sector will be robust enough to continue its engagement.

For the gas sector, the Chairperson is optimistic that there will soon be discoveries that will be a game changer. The DoE, on behalf of government, is engaging with Tanzania and Mozambique to tap into the gas industry and he hopes to see gas as an energy source taking 20% of the energy sector, and urged the industry to strive to this target, by considering also how to take up Liquid Petroleum Gas or Liquid Natural Gas. He thanked Sasol for raising the need to find an integrated approach, and said that in future other departments need to be more involved. He appreciated the frankness shown on all sides.

5. Recommendations

The Minister of Energy:

· Organises a colloquium on how to facilitate synergies for investment and promotion of the upstream oil and gas sector in the 5 th Parliament as a matter of urgency;

· Further addresses concerns raised by the industry especially regarding legislative constraints, policy uncertainty, BEE challenges, etc.;

· In conjunction with the Minister of Trade & Industry, Minister of Finance, Minister of Higher Education and Training and the Minister of Economic Development, facilitates opportunities on industrialisation including various aspects of localization in the upstream oil and gas sector;

· Ensures legal and regulatory certainty , stability and predictability regarding the oil and gas sector is galvanised;

· In partnership with various stakeholders especially relevant government departments together with the oil and gas industry, promotes SA as an investment destination through creation of, inter alia, a conducive investment climate that will be coupled with appropriate incentives as well as use the opportunity to promote gas including raising capital for locals;

· Addresses concerns about MPRDA Amendment Bill as articulated by the oil and gas industry;

· Ensures government is consistent in employing an integrated approach in promoting and advancing the oil and gas industry.


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