South Africa: Gas to fire up industry

Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry

Greater focus on using gas in particular as a pillar of industrialisation is one of the new elements in the government’s latest industrial policy action plan.

A gas utilisation model for the region has been developed and a series of regional gas projects identified.

A dedicated gas industrialisation unit will be launched next week by the Department of Trade and Industry to drive the programme in collaboration with other state departments and stakeholders.

An action plan for the unit has already been developed.

“The Southern African region is fast growing into an oil and gas jurisdiction, led by major on and offshore gas finds in Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia – together with significant potential for substantial hydrocarbon resources in South Africa,” Davies said at the launch of the plan in Benoni on the East Rand.

“There is great potential both for cheaper, less carbon-intensive energy generation and for the utilisation of gas for upstream and downstream industrialisation.”

The gas fields off Mozambique are estimated to contain between 5.7 trillion cubic metres and 7.1 trillion cubic metres.

The industrial policy action plan refers to the cheap exploitation of shale gas in the US and how it has revitalised sections of the manufacturing industry there.

Davies said the government was working on a plan to extend support for the automotive industry beyond the 2020 span of the current programme.

The scope of the policy could be extended and a team of technical experts set up to develop a post-2020 Automotive Master Plan. The programme has attracted Ford, BMW and VW to set up factories and create jobs.

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Source: TimesLive