Africa beckons to energy producers

Africa might not rank high on the investment wish list of most Alberta businesses. But it’s attracting interest from a growing number of energy companies, says an Alberta International and Intergovernmental Relations official who is responsible for supporting Alberta trade development on the continent.

Africa might not rank high on the investment wish list of most Alberta businesses. But it’s attracting interest from a growing number of energy companies, says an Alberta International and Intergovernmental Relations official who is responsible for supporting Alberta trade development on the continent.

Shane Jaffer was in Red Deer on Thursday to speak at a seminar about accessing international markets. The department’s director for Africa, as well its international development office and international financial institutions, he described the potential that Africa has as an energy producer.

“If we started looking at where the next horizon of opportunities are going to be in oil and gas, it’s really in Africa.

“I think 25 per cent of new discoveries are in Africa.”

A number of Alberta companies are already established there, said Jaffer, including Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Talisman Energy Inc.

“We have five or six Alberta companies that are already active in Tanzania.”

Jaffer said he’s leading a delegation of about 16 companies to the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town, South Africa in November.

“There are four Alberta companies who are speaking at the event.”

And over the next few months, the Tanzania minister of energy, as well as delegations from Angola and Nigeria, will be visiting Alberta — with all focused on the oil and gas industry.

North Africa has long been an oil-producing area, said Jaffer, but new opportunities are now opening up for Canadians there. West and East Africa also have off-shore and land-based oil reserves, with many of the latter difficult to access.

“It’s something where Alberta has a lot of expertise. Not many other countries seem to have that expertise.”

A broad range of products and services are needed, said Jaffer. And because Africa’s energy sector lags behind Alberta’s, it’s not necessary that these be cutting edge.

“You have to start thinking that some of these companies are 10, 15, 20 years behind in terms of technology,” he said, adding that other attributes are more important.

“You need to be able to provide good quality service, good equipment and good follow-up.”

Operating in Africa does pose challenges, acknowledged Jaffer. In addition to the distance, as well as cultural and language differences, political uncertainty is a concern.

“It’s a little more high-risk,” he said.

“But there are higher degrees of pay-off as well.”

The Alberta government can provide support, said Jaffer, and it’s a good idea to find a domestic partner with whom to work with.

Thursday’s session was organized by Central Alberta: Access Prosperity, along with the provincial and federal governments. In addition to Jaffer, there were speakers representing the World Bank; Export Development Canada; Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; and companies active in international markets. International and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Cal Dallas also took part.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

The Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club is hoping to win $50,000 through the Mackenzie Investments Top Peak contest. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta ski club trying to win $50K in online contest

A central Alberta ski club has entered a contest where it can… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on December 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives to call top Sajjan, Trudeau aides to testify on Vance allegations

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives plan to summon two senior Liberal aides… Continue reading

Elvira D'Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

WASHINGTON — The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian… Continue reading

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Legal experts and a mother whose ex-partner was convicted of… Continue reading

Radio and television personality Dick Smyth is shown in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

Most Read