Technology the Cornerstone of Emission Reductions in Africa –  SAP Executive

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Africa. Emissions. Technology

Energy, Capital & Power spoke with Benjamin Berbeness, Global Head, Oil, Gas and Energy, SAP, about the technologies available for the African oil and gas industry to accelerate decarbonization of operations.

The energy transition and ESG matters are driving changes within the oil and gas industry. How can companies in Africa create winning decarbonization strategies?

Just like anywhere else in the world, companies in Africa have to leverage digital technologies to help them have a platform in place that enables them to have transparency in the way they operate.

For us, one of the key areas is asset management. Mackinsey talks about how a 10% improvement in asset management would result in a 4% reduction in emissions. For companies in Africa, having digital solutions would help them reduce emissions as a first step which is key to their success. This will allow them to focus on reducing emissions in operations which they have direct control of. But by taking advantage of the new technologies that are coming out, companies have an opportunity to work with large national oil companies around innovations in AI, machine learning and carbon capture and as the technologies mature, these firms can then start to be optimistic about their decarbonisation plans.

What makes SAP an ideal project partner for African project developers?

Ninety percent of oil and gas companies, if not more, in the world use us. We don’t only provide the foundation pieces for procurement, resource management and finance and asset management but we also have industry-specific solutions that help companies. We are a great platform for companies in Africa to build upon and as they continue to change and build their own oil and gas businesses, just like majors have done, we can help them diversify businesses and look for new revenue streams. Our solutions are a great platform as it allows them to expand into other industries such as mining and retail. Our solution allows them to be future-proof before they go ahead with their strategy.

Are you an entire value chain business or you focus on certain landscapes across the oil and gas industry?

We are an entire value chain solutions provider from procurement to the supply chain all the way to providing solutions to fuel retailers. We also provide utility and renewables capabilities. We now serve the entire value chain for the hydrocarbons industry, be it oil, natural gas through hydrogen.

Are there opportunities to integrate renewables with oil and gas for power generation?

Yes, there are opportunities. You will hear a lot about energy management. Companies building refineries and oil and gas projects are focusing more on how they efficiently leverage energy. In new projects, companies are now looking at energy efficiency – how do they leverage wind, solar and geothermal efficiently? There is a research going on in Texas where they are drilling geothermal near drilling wells to provide electricity to upstream projects. Chevron is looking at how to leverage biofuels and other sustainable fuels to provide energy they need for their operations. Sustainability is clearly a key component of anything new we are doing in the industry.

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Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands is the Deputy Editor at Energy Capital & Power. She holds a Higher Certificate in Professional Photography and Masters in Media Studies from the University of Cape Town. Charné writes content for ECP's website and events as well as co-authored African Energy Chamber: Road to Recovery.

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