Africa has seen the highest increase in oil consumption globally, 5% in 2012 versus only a 1% increase globally. The recent oil and gas finds in Africa will continue to have a positive impact on local economies, if local African suppliers, service providers and other businesses are geared up to service this growth.

This is according to Steve Harley, president of the energy sector, for DHL Customer Solutions & Innovations. Harley says that these energy finds provide many possibilities for local businesses, to echo the express operator’s own marked increase in the transportation of energy-related material in the region.

He says that forecasts expect African oil supply growth to continue over the next 25 years, with predicted ranges of growth over the period of between 0.5 million and 2.0 million barrels per day.

Harley does warn though that, as the easily obtainable oil reserves have been has depleted, that most of the new developments are either very remote or technically challenging, which brings issues of infrastructure, transportation and expertise to the fore.

“Forecasts predict that conventional oil production will decline by five per cent per year. Extraction from unconventional sources is more complex and relatively more expensive from a supply chain perspective. As such, customers will need complementary expertise from integrated logistics suppliers to meet the challenges of these new geographies and technologies.”

DHL’s recent global white paper on maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) supply chain management for energy companies shows the oil and gas businesses will require integrated suppliers that are able to support them with end-to-end supply chain solutions. According to the white paper, logistics suppliers need to provide a global footprint in combination with local market expertise.

“This is particularly true in Africa,” notes Charles Brewer, managing director for DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa, says. “While the continent is showing promise, issues around infrastructure, regulatory hurdles, and lack of an integrated supply chain in most markets, can be a major hindrance for energy businesses. Couple that with the need to optimise production and improve supply chain management to enhance service and reduce cost, and you understand the need for integrated suppliers to introduce more robust metrics, optimise the inventory and find cost-effective transport solutions.”