It is quite amazing that next month will mark 3 years at SAOGA for me - it has been quite an experience and I have got to know many interesting people and organisations. It is also a natural point at which to reflect on where we are and where we are going. This is not supposed to be a long note so I'll keep things brief.
Although much has changed postively in both the industry and at SAOGA over the past 3 years the upstream service opportunity is still largely a story of unrealised potential. The East African story is still in its infancy, progress with engaging the public sector over the opportunity has taken time and the domestic upstream sector projects remain in the starting blocks so significant growth in "jobs and gdp" from the sector is still to come. Nevertheless the outlook is overwhelmingly positive - some of the most ins and to my mind the most exciting possibilities::
- We have succeeded in getting the upstream services opportunity recognised in the national industrial plan (IPAP) and this has focused attention at the top levels of the public sector on our opportunity;
- Closely related to this is a much better relationship with the National Ports Authority and a shared recognition of the opportunity to develop a significant hub of oil and gas activity in Saldanha Bay. This has been reflected in a series of upstream rig repair contracts in SB over the past year. Meanwhile the A-Berth rennovation has been completed and, as I write, is fully in action with the Scarabea 3 project. We remain hopeful that a deal will soon be concluded to open an oil logistics base at Saldanha and if this happens will be further testament to the new spirit of collaboration in "SA Inc". We are working hard to ensure that the conditions for a successful hub at Saldanha are established soon.
- A number of our members have successfully secured work in the emerging areas of East Africa and we have visited Mozambique to make contact with companies that are seriously looking for help from South Africa. How we address these new opportunities in the next year or two will determine the relevance of South Africa in these massive new gas discoveries for decades to come. To this end we have been devoting quite a bit of effort to market research around these new projects.
- We are also realising the potential of the larger South African industrial base to play a role in the regional upstream market and this is creating a renewed focus on looking beyond our existing member base to understand what else "SA Inc" can bring to the likes of Anadarko, Eni and others who are developing projects and looking for suppliers in the region. The request at the top of this letter is a good example of the new focus that international companies have on South Africa.
Things are also changing at SAOGA itself. We are currently in the midst of a Board election which should bring a number of new faces and ideas onto the Board. I encourage you to engage in this important process. Last week we held a very good strategy session that involved a wide range of members and directors (both existing and potential new ones) which helped us to focus a little more on WRM (what really matters). We still have some way to go however as the available resources still lag our ambitions by some distance! Still, it is clear that moving forward with Saldanha, accessing markets in East Africa, continuing our popular networking programme and developing a strategic skills framework for the sector will all be priorities going forward. In order to do this we are going to have to have a lot more involvement from members so one of our jobs is going to be to find ways to involve more of you in WRM. To me it feels like an unfinished project and I look forward to seeing the next chapter of SAOGA and the regional upstream story unfold.