Exclusive interview with Tendani Ndwamise, Direct Sector B2B Marketer at Shell South Africa, who are returning as platinum sponsors at African Utility Week in Cape Town in May.

Welcome back to African Utility Week! Why did you decide to return as a platinum sponsor?

Thank you. Shell is delighted to be a platinum sponsor for African Utility Week for the second year running. We have seen the benefits of this partnership first hand. Our presentation last year was attended by 25 decision makers who’ve shown a great interest in our commercial lubricants products. We also received great media coverage about our brand and products from the specialised media that attend the event every year. Furthermore we’ve had an opportunity to connect and foster relationships with those key media partners who have played a great role in continuously spreading our brand message beyond of the conference. We look forward to engaging with the AUW attendees again to discuss our unique offerings to the power sector/

Will you have a specific product that you will launch or promote at the event?

At this year’s event we will focus on the promotion of the following Shell Commercial Lubricants products which have been fully approved by a number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
•    Gas Engines Oils – Shell Mysella
•    Transformer Oils – Shell Diala
•    Diesel Engine Oils- Shell Argina XL
•    Turbines- Shell Turbo S4

What will be your specific message at the event?

Shell’s commercial lubricant products and services are designed to add value to the operation of your specialised business equipment, whatever your industry. A recent Shell poll indicated that equipment is the biggest concern for equipment operators when choosing oil. Shell has invested in Shell GTL (Gas to Liquids) technology to formulate a range of products in the power sector that can help to alleviate these concerns. We understand that this technology is new to Africa and we welcome the opportunity to discuss Shell GTL and our suite of transformer and turbine oils with attendees. Our products will help your business discover how using the right lubricant can bring substantial savings to your business. Shell Lubricants maximise equipment efficiency, prolong vehicle life and reduce downtime, all adding to your company’s bottom line.

Any interesting energy projects that you are involved in in South Africa/African that you can share with us?

The industry continues to change and is at a challenging point in its history. The commitment to investment in energy in Africa is an exciting opportunity and we are working with a number of partners to support these projects.

What are the main challenges in the current energy landscape in South Africa in your view?

South Africa has been experiencing severe energy constraints over the past few years. This has been an impediment to the country’s economic growth and is a major inconvenience to everyone in the country. Over the past decade, owing to a rapid growth in population and urbanisation globally South Africa faces a shortfall of power because of the excess of demand over the existing power-generating capacities.

As a result, great pressure has been placed on the country’s power utility to meet energy demands. The need for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) has become dire and the importance of the role of renewable energy sources has increased significantly. To meet this demand, the number of gas engines using unconventional fuels such as landfill, bio or sewage gas has grown significantly. While renewable energy sources are friendlier on the environment and also more sustainable, they also run on big engines that require frequent maintenance and are costly to maintain. This has made it more important for Shell to develop the right kind of oils to improve engine maintenance and performance for these specialised applications.

Can gas be the game changer in the energy industry in Africa?

Gas is able to produce lower-carbon level power for both consumers and large scale industries. The interest in gas by global investors also represents a significant opportunity for local skills development and economic growth. It may not be top of the mind in Africa just yet, but it is progressively getting there. Shell has invested in Shell GTL to provide a solution to the inconsistencies in global availability and performance that we see with crude derived base oils.  Shell GTL technology has a designed chemistry, providing globally consistent base oils, which can be supplied across the globe.

Anything else you would like to add?

As the country goes through tough economic times and companies are facing growing price tags for their equipment maintenance, all eyes are on reducing costs and increasing machine run time. Shell Lubricants were designed with cost saving in mind to maximise equipment efficiency, prolong vehicle life and reduce downtime, resulting in companies spending less on the maintenance of engines and operating longer, earning more profit. We hope that this event will be an important milestone for further development of a safe, reliable and sustainable power supply in Africa.