President Jacob Zuma expected to launch the Saldanha Bay IDZ this week.October 28, 2013 by: admin
WITH President Jacob Zuma expected to launch the Saldanha Bay industrial development zone (IDZ) next week, oil and gas stakeholders have urged the government to ensure that costs in the new zone are competitive relative to other such ports globally.
South African Oil and Gas Alliance CE Ebrahim Takolia said this week that promulgating Saldanha Bay — about 130km from Cape Town — as an IDZ would not lead to increased activity unless costs are competitive.
Mr Takolia said designating the port a customs control area would help it reduce bureaucracy and be more cost competitive.
He said the government should provide funding for skills development to facilitate the development of knowledge in oil and gas locally.
Saldanha Bay IDZ is one of the 18 strategic, integrated projects of the Presidential Infrastructure coordinating Commission, which is overseeing South Africa’s infrastructure drive, and analysts believe it could set up the west coast for an oil and gas industry boom.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said earlier in October that a feasibility study had shown Saldanha Bay was strategically located to service Africa’s substantial oil and gas sector, owing to an increasing number of oil rigs requiring maintenance and the high volume of marine traffic along the west coast.
Mr Takolia said the Saldanha Bay IDZ offered a significant opportunity for an oil and gas hub to complement other hub activity in the sector in South Africa.
“The initial opportunities will arise out of the field services and related activities in the upstream sector, but will also focus on midstream-sector activities, notably logistics and storage, which will develop as the local and regional industry develops,” he said.
Mr Takolia said companies had already started to invest in the Saldanha Bay IDZ, such as Sunrise Energy, which announced it would co-invest in a liquid petroleum gas import facility with the Industrial Development Corporation, and Oil Spill Response, which is the world’s largest company specialising in fuel clean-ups.
“There is potential to create new businesses and increase activity for existing businesses, which will assist with job creation in the region and spur regional economic activity,” he said.
Earlier in October, Western Cape finance, economic development and tourism MEC Alan Winde said the IDZ presented significant employment opportunities for the Western Cape.
“That is why it is vital that local residents become appropriately skilled,” he said.
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