Address By President James A Michel On The Occasion Of The Opening Of The New Head Office Of Seypec 11th March 2011
Mon, 14 March 2011
ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT JAMES A MICHEL
ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF THE NEW HEAD OFFICE OF SEYPEC 11TH MARCH 2011
Capt. Guy Adam, Executive Chairman of SEYPEC,
Members of the Staff of SEYPEC,
Ladies and gentlemen,
A little more than 25 years ago - to be precise, in July 1985 - Government created SEYPEC to take over the responsibility of importing and distributing petroleum products locally, a function which was prior to that date, being conducted by the SHELL Oil Company.
From humble and inauspicious beginnings, SEYPEC has grown into a modern, profit-making and dynamic organisation engaged in both downhill and upstream operations. Much of the credit for this must go to its Executive Chairman, Captain Guy Adam, a man whose breadth of vision and leadership is only matched by his modesty. I would also like to commend the Deputy CEO, Mr. Eddy Belle, who has been the pioneer of oil exploration in Seychelles. Thank you, Guy, Eddy and all your staff for taking SEYPEC to where it is today. We are proud of you and we congratulate you all!
We have much to be proud of SEYPEC. It is an entirely owned Seychellois company, employing an exclusively Seychellois staff of 183. It belongs to the people of Seychelles. Its success reflects the success of our people. SEYPEC is winning for Seychelles!
In this fiercely competitive world, it has managed to carve an international reputation for itself in the field of transportation of petroleum products and oil exploration.
It owns, manages and operates a fleet of six tankers, five of which ply the oceans to transport petroleum products to various ports around the world. The smallest tanker, Seychelles Paradise, operates locally to ensure the safe transportation of vital petroleum products to our inner islands. Our fleet of tankers provide employment to 120 young Seychellois. Bigger and more powerful countries have not been able to match our achievement in this field. It is a remarkable achievement for a country with a population of less than 90,000. And we are justifiably proud of it - yet another victory for Seychelles!
That SEYPEC is also actively engaged in petroleum exploration programmes in our Exclusive Economic Zone, in partnership with other foreign companies, is also a reflection of its success, credibility and reputation. Today, there is active exploration taking place in our waters, and I’ve been told that the results look promising and there will be drilling of wells before the end of next year. This will open new vistas for Seychelles and new opportunities. We have every reason to be optimistic.
SEYPEC is an important and strategic entity within Seychelles. Prior to our Economic Reform Programme, when we were experiencing many difficulties, SEYPEC ensured the constant flow of petroleum products to the country and this kept the engine of our economy in motion.
SEYPEC has ventured far and wide to broaden its vision and to capitalise on its resources.
We are today a hub for petroleum products, with a total export value of USD 151 million last year, comprising exports to the region, bunkering and aviation. Had it not been for the plague of piracy, we can only imagine how far SEYPEC could have gained in regional trade.
The continued threat of piracy implies that SEYPEC has to remain cautious and vigilant. Yet, at the same time, I am urging SEYPEC not to relent in its efforts in maximising its potential. Its credit-worthiness, its experience and expertise in maritime transportation makes it the most eligible company in the region to boost regional trade in petroleum products, and, why not?, in other products, given the lack of maritime traffic against the abundance of tradable goods in the region.
Today, SEYPEC is also engaged in the production of crude oil, having wisely invested its own funds in international oil production, further spreading its investments beyond Seychelles. AFREN, the company in which SEPEC holds minority shares, also operates in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar as well as in West Africa where it is producing 70 000 barrels a day.
SEYPEC’s investments also include its participation in international oil exploration in the region through the exploratory rights that AFREN enjoys. AFREN’s commitment to Seychelles is already clear. I am pleased to announce, on behalf of SEPEC, that AFREN is sponsoring SCR 5.0 million to the Indian Ocean Games. I would like to express to AFREN, through its shareholder - SEYPEC - the gratitude of the Government and people of Seychelles for this generous gesture.
As SEYPEC grew over the past decades, the previous offices which were built in the early seventies could not accommodate the ever increasing number of staff and activities. Today, we are pleased to see that the old building has been replaced by this more spacious modern building. I am glad to note that this 2,500m2 office building is also a show-case of eco-friendly building. You have included solar water heaters, double glazed windows and other innovative designs in order to save energy and increase efficiency. These designs do not only help our environment, but lower the running costs of the building.
This brings me to an issue that is impacting on our economic growth and must be tackled at all costs. That is the issue of energy supply and its costs.
Energy is the key element to our economic and social development. Piracy in the western Indian Ocean now threatens our energy supply. It has also driven up the freight and insurance costs and is partly responsible for the increase of prices of petroleum products locally. SEYPEC must now find more innovative means to ensure that our energy life-line is kept secure. Already, we see that the Company has taken steps to increase storage capacity so as to mitigate supply disruption. Notwithstanding SEYPEC’s efforts, we must be aware that the price of fuel at the pump is largely beyond the control of SEYPEC and of Government. As we all know, the recent hike in fuel prices is the result of the upheaval in various oil producing countries.
That said, we can all play our part in reducing energy costs through our own activities. This could be through increased energy efficiency as we see in this building, or in our habits. It takes a conscious effort!
I thank you all for your presence here today. I thank SEYPEC and all its staff for their hard work. Their achievements and their new building are yet another victory for Seychelles! May your new building herald even greater success in your current operations and in the quest for oil in our waters.
It now gives me great pleasure to declare this new Head Office of SEYPEC open.