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Minister Alan Winde
Minister Alan Winde

On Monday (30 June 2014) Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, addressed an award ceremony recognising local rig repair company, DCD Marine Cape Town, for their efforts in attracting a R1 billion investment into the Western Cape's Oil and Gas sector. Here's an extract of his speech:

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate DCD Marine Cape Town for attracting a R1 billion investment into the province creating 1 193 jobs for our residents.

I also want to thank Saipem for selecting the Western Cape for this repair contract. This speaks to the confidence international companies have in our province.

This project is aligned with the Western Cape Government's number one priority: economic growth and jobs.

The Western Cape Government believes it is our role to create an environment in which the private sector can grow the economy and create jobs.

In order to do this, we have focussed on reducing red tape and putting the necessary skills programmes in place for our residents.

The Oil and Gas sector is a priority growth industry for the Western Cape. Generating R2 billion for the local economy each year, this industry employs 8 500 people.

Currently 28 international oil companies and Original Equipment Manufacturers have a footprint in the Western Cape.

A major influencing factor has been the creation of the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone, which was formally announced last October and has already attracted 18 local and international companies.

The feasibility study has shown that the IDZ could create 15 000 sustainable jobs over the next ten years and generate R10 billion for the region's economy over the longer term.

It is hoped this IDZ will be a customs free zone and offer 15% flat tax rate. This will significantly boost our competiveness.

Our Red Tape Reduction Unit is also boosting competitiveness. Since its launch in 2011, this programme has logged over 2000 cases with an 80% resolution rate.

The final piece in the puzzle in making sure we have skills to meet the demands of the industry. To ensure a match between the supply and demand for skills we have launched a R5.8 million Artisan Development Programme which, amongst others, aims to build skills in the oil and gas industry We also play a key role in supporting the South African Oil and Gas Alliance, the sector body representing the industry.

We are making strides in reaching our goal to become a servicing and repair hub for Oil and Gas vessels operating along the African coastline.

Our work in this sector is not yet done.

Going forward, we will focus on new opportunities in this sector. These include:

Clean fuel technology upgrades of crude refineries and gas to liquid (GTL) refinery. A case is the Mthombo Oil Refinery located at the port of COEGA. Feasibility studies are being conducted on the crude oil refinery and import terminal.

Coal Bed Methane exploration activity continues in South Africa. Shale gas exploration, following appropriate approvals from stakeholders, could commence in the next few years. This is dependent on the Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Act.

Exploration activity off the coast of South Africa is expected to ramp up over the next 18 to 24 months with many upstream exploration companies commencing with approval processes for offshore exploration. We will continue to work with Transet to ensure that proposed port infrastructure is implemented. Key priorities will include maintaining existing port infrastructure and ensuring that our cost structures remain competitive with international ports.

The Oil and Gas sector has the potential to become one of the most important levers for jobs and economic growth for the Western Cape.

Indications are that it will indeed be a major catalyst for foreign direct investment and increased employment opportunities for our residents in the medium to long term.

This article was originally published by http://www.ideate.co.za/ and can be found here.

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