Two catalysts spurred the development of South Africa's upstream supplier base. Firstly, the development of the South Coast offshore infrastructure starting in the late 1980s led to the establishment of significant South African capacity to fabricate and provide a variety of technical services to the industry. Many of the global service companies also established South African operations to service these developments. Secondly, the significant growth of the East and West African fields has attracted many local firms into the market and South Africa is now a significant supplier of services and equipment to both East and West Africa.
Particular expertise and critical mass has been reached in several sub-sectors of the overall upstream value chain:
Fabrication and Construction
South Africa boasts proven success in Development Projects
In partnership with international oil and gas players, South Africa has a proven track record in development projects from Conceptual Design and Front End Engineering Design (FEED) to Feasibility, Engineering, Procurement, Fabrication, Construction, Installation and Commissioning.
Fixed Systems, Floating Systems, Topside Modules, Sub-sea Systems, Mooring Systems and Sub-sea Pipelines have been handled by the world-class engineering and manufacturing base available in the country. South Africa is able to offer a skilled workforce trained through the national education and training institutions which include a number of world-class universities.
Various fabrication private fabrication facilities exist around the country. In 2007 a major fabrication facility at Saldanha Bay was upgraded to focus specifically on fabrication for large-scale upstream fabrication projects.
Ship/Rig Repair and Maintenance
South Africa's Ports and Maritime Excellence
South Africa has a number of ports with deep water access and drydock facilities serviced by a well-developed marine engineering and services sector. Local engineering contractors are well equipped to undertake fabrication, construction, ship/rig repair and maintenance, surveys and certification while complying with international norms around health, safety and environmental standards. In recent years the industry has undertaken many large oil and gas vessel repair/upgrade projects for clients such as Transocean, Pride International, Chevron, Acergy, Saipem and others.
The Port of Cape Town is the main centre for the repair and upgrade of upstream offshore vessels and equipment due to its strategic location on the southwestern corner of the African continent, its large graving dry-dock and the depth of services available. Cape Town's dry-dock is the largest one in Africa but as yet the country does not have dry-dock facility capable of handling drillings rigs or the new generation drill-ships
Two current initiatives to place public port infrastructure under private management promise to greatly improve the competitiveness of the ship/rig repair sector.
Distribution and Logistics
A major logistics hub for East and West Africa
Cape Town is currently a major logistics and distribution point for materials and equipment into the West African oilfields, and is expected to also become a major logistics player in East Africa oil fields. Most of the major global logistics providers have substantial capability and infrastructure in the city and the port is well connected to both West and East Africa by sea, air and road links.
Exploration and Production Services
South Africa offers umbrella services
South Africa's advanced industrial base and high engineering standards provides a broad base of suppliers and service providers to the upstream industry. Many of these companies have significant track records through their involvement in South Africa's own offshore exploration and production endeavours as well as in the West and East African offshore fields. This local capacity complements the capability and expertise available through the local operations of many of major global upstream service companies.