HIGH COMMISSIONER OF CANADA TO MOZAMBIQUE
MAPUTO, JUNE 18, 2015
Thank you Vijay,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Honoured Guests,
Let me begin by saying that I’m delighted to be here with you today to open this event.
Today’s proceedings are sponsored by EMC, Cisco and Bytes & Pieces and the content focuses on Information Technology Solutions for the Oil & Gas Industry with specific reference to Storage, Data Centre and Security Solutions. I can’t say that I know a lot about the technical aspects of what you’ll be discussing today but I do know a little bit about Mozambique’s potential as a major global supplier of natural gas.
It wasn’t long ago, indeed only just five or six years ago, that Mozambique rarely came up in conversations about global energy supplies. In fact Mozambique rarely came up at all in discussions outside of Africa and if it did it was in the context of its wonderful beaches, delicious seafood or ongoing development challenges. Then 2010-2011 came along and the discoveries of gas in the Rovuma Basin and almost overnight everything changed.
The Rovuma Basin gas discovery was one of the largest in the last twenty years. The building of the LNG trains in Cabo Delgado by both Anadarko and ENI promises to be the largest construction project in African history with total potential investments in excess of $60 billion, between 4 to 5 times Mozambique’s current Gross Domestic Product. The resulting capacity could make Mozambique the third largest LNG exporter in the world after Australia and Qatar. In fact I’ve even heard people in the gas business say it could surpass Qatar. In a report last August, Standard Bank estimated that if only 6 LNG trains are built, a conservative figure, Mozambique’s GDP could potentially increase by a factor of 9 in 20 years going from $15 billion in 2014 to $135 billion by 2035.
So this is potentially a game changer for Mozambique – I say potentially because until the first gas starts to flow nothing is guaranteed. Oil and gas markets are notoriously unstable as we’ve seen over the past year and, as executives in the gas industry here like to point out to me, there are many LNG projects on the drawing board, 22 in Canada alone. One of the key factors that will make the difference between moving forward or missing the boat is the level of cooperation between industry and government. In Mozambique I think it’s fair to say this cooperation has so far been good. But this needs to continue because other projects are going forward in environments much less risky than this one.
Construction of these LNG trains will be an enormous undertaking as I’ve mentioned. It’s expected that a camp of between 10-15,000 people will need to be constructed to support what will be a multi-year construction effort. It’s obvious that information technology industry will play a critical role during this phase. Having access to data that can be analysed in real-time is one of the principal ways to reduce risks and reduce costs. Looking ahead to eventual production, we are now in the era of the intelligent gas field. New innovative technologies and sensors can help companies remotely monitor wells. Massive amounts of sensor data can now be stored and searched using advanced visualization technologies. Visualization, modelling and analytics are making it easier for decision makers to understand the wealth of complex information leading to improved management. This is particularly true in hostile environments which include the deep waters of the Rovuma Basin.
Providing and analysing the data that can reduce costs, anticipate problems, and extend field lifespans is the critically important role that the IT industry can play, working with the operators and government as Mozambique’s gas development moves forward.
This is but one crucial role that technology and the IT industry can play not just in Mozambique but across Africa. As you know there is a veritable explosion in the use of IT across Africa. With the fastest growing middle class in the world, and an increasingly young population this promises to continue well into the future. But up until now, for the most part, Africans have been consumers and not producers of IT products. There are of course exceptions. The m-Pesa mobile payments system pioneered in Kenya is a world leader. But we need to work with Africans to help unleash the full creative IT potential of this continent. That’s why the Canadian High Commission here in Maputo is exploring with some key private sector partners and other donors the feasibility of establishing the first private technology hub or incubator in Mozambique. Connected to the IT industry, supported initially by seed funds from donors, we believe we have the potential to create an exciting new centre to grow the next generation of IT professionals and IT entrepreneurs that Mozambique requires.
I firmly believe that rapidly expanding the opportunities for the aggressive growth of IT utilization across Africa offers one of the best ways to empower citizens and enhance good governance. Knowledge truly is power and expanding the use of information technology is, in my humble view, one of the best ways we can help Africans to secure the future they deserve.
Now, more about today’s program.
The organizers have brought together two key players in the IT industry, EMC and Cisco. Both of these companies have extensive experience and a long record of success in the Oil & Gas Industry. The speakers today will be presenting information from their respective companies on the specific solutions that EMC and Cisco have on the market for the Oil & Gas Industry. They will speak about storing Data, securing Data and then using analytics on that Data to optimise management, improve efficiencies and thereby provide cost reductions for the operations for all of the organisations involved in the projects mentioned.
This event has been organised by Bytes & Pieces, a regional Information Technology solutions company based in Mozambique with offices in South Africa, Namibia and Zambia. Bytes & Pieces is an EMC gold partner and a Cisco Preferred partner, offering best practice solutions with a local presence and locally trained staff.
On behalf of everyone involved I wish to welcome you and I hope you find the sessions useful and informative.