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SA sets sights on Egypt oil

by BuaNews Online
on 08 Oct 2010
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

South Africa is set to explore more opportunities in Africa's oil-rich countries, with government planning to use President Jacob Zuma's visit to Egypt later this month to discuss possible future oil deals.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane confirmed this week that further discussions for oil exploration by PetroSA in Egypt will be on the agenda when Zuma visits that country on 19 October.

PetroSA, the largest national oil company, recently revealed its plans to pursue investment opportunities internationally, with a special focus on Africa.

A pioneer in gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology, the company is currently at an advanced stage of a project that could see the establishment of a world-class crude refinery in the Eastern Cape. The project, known as Project Mthombo, will create the biggest refinery on the continent.

Earlier this year, a delegation led by Zuma for a state visit to Uganda sought to explore investment opportunities in Uganda's newly found oil wealth. While the country does not yet produce oil, its oil fields are believed to have large potential.

While Nkoana-Mashabane could not divulge the details of the possible oil deal with Egypt, she did say that South Africa had outstanding bilateral agreements with that country in the areas of ICT, environment, health, oil and gas and Zuma's visit aims to conclude those agreements.

Despite the energy sector making up only about 15 percent of Egypt's GDP, South Africa still sees that country as one of the continent's important producers of oil and gas, even though its oil reserves are said to be on the decline.

As the second largest economy in Africa ($450 billion), Zuma's visit to Egypt is expected to be closely followed by local investors.

Politically, Egypt is an influential player in the Middle East peace process and currently chairs the Non-Aligned Movement, a body representing the interests and priorities of 115 developing countries.

The country also contributes more than 5 000 troops to peacekeeping efforts in Africa and is a key participant in the Nile Commission on the disputed sharing of Nile water between Egypt and Sudan. - BuaNews

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