The 2003 Africa Downstream conference got under way this week, with Duncan Clarke, chairman of Global Pacific & Partners, predicting strong growth for Africa's energy industry.

The 2003 Africa Downstream conference got under way this week, with Duncan Clarke, chairman of Global Pacific & Partners, predicting strong growth for Africa's energy industry.

Clarke said that many countries were undergoing major economic restructuring and could see considerably higher growth rates than in the past, while greater attention was being paid to issues such as local content and ownership.

As stated in Business Report, that while most oil fields would continue to be concentrated in deep waters offshore, sub-Saharan Africa's potential between 2004 and 2025 would be considerable, he said.

Mpho Scott, a director of Caltex South Africa, outlined the importance of the black economic empowerment trend in the local oil industry with the adoption of an empowerment charter which had seen many developments between major companies and local entrepreneurs.

David Sineke, an industry and research analyst at Engen Petroleum, said that among the challenges facing the African oil industry were market liberalisation and weaker domestic currencies that pushed prices up, as well as the need to comply with higher quality specifications like the elimination of lead in fuel.

Colin McClelland, chief executive of the SA Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia), stated too that more than half of South Africa's service stations would be unviable if they relied on fuel sales alone. They needed to supplement their incomes by running shops and selling goods; a statement that was reiterated by Sineke who spoke about the need for entrepreneurs to search for 'alternative profit opportunities'.

Original article from Car