Catalysts for Change

Africa Oil & Power’s theme encompasses the major changes that African governments and firms are undergoing in 2017, and the significant developments in the oil, gas, power and finance industries in response to a sustained low oil price.

It may be too early to declare that the fortunes of Africa’s oil and gas industry are improving, but it cannot be denied that change is in the air and that better conditions are in sight. At Africa Oil & Power 2017, we examine the sparks that will ignite a recovery and the strategies that oil and gas companies and governments are employing to succeed at a sustained low price point. The main theme of AOP 2017 is Catalysts for Change.

For the past two years, the African oil and gas industry has endured a persistent slump in commodity prices that has narrowed profit margins and dampened investment prospects. Several projects have been rendered unfeasible, lowering exploration activity. But it has not been all pain. The industry has been forced to adapt to market realities that have made many companies stronger and more resilient. In many ways, the industry has learned to cope and do the same, if not more, with less. This speaks to the irrepressible nature of energy companies as much as the industry’s deep-rooted capacity to manage volatility.

At AOP 2017, we will focus our attention on an industry transitioning to a new normal. We will discuss the innovations and advanced technologies that are enabling operators to work at a lower cost. We will look at the increasing links between Africa’s hydrocarbons and electricity sectors and the way that cheap and abundant natural gas could prompt a surge in domestic power and industrial projects. As Africa emerges as a noteworthy LNG importer, how much will this affect intra-continental energy trade? We also examine the impact of a rebalancing of supply and demand forces on a slow oil price recovery. Would reduced crude inventories in the US, a potential reduction in OPEC output and increased non-OECD consumption cause a material change in prices?

The past two years have been punishing for many producing countries that depend on oil and gas receipts to fuel their economies and fund their governments. But could pressures to attract FDI force host countries to reconsider their contract regimes? Are African countries learning to compete better with other jurisdictions for investment ?

Africa’s energy industry faces challenges that were difficult even when the oil price was $100. How do you build national capacity in a country lacking education, skills and technology? How do you support the growth of national companies without alienating foreign investors? How do you develop a sustainable economy that depends so much on one resource? At AOP 2017, we challenge energy industry leaders to be catalysts for change to help overcome the greatest challenges. All that is needed is a spark.

We’ll be interviewing our speakers and other industry leaders on the 2017 theme, Catalysts for Change, and publishing their opinions in an online forum format. Read the opinions and hear from our expert panels here on the website and at the AOP 2017 conference, June 5-7, Cape Town.