Can you tell us a little bit about Stonechair Capital’s history on the African Continent?
Stonechair Capital Corp was created in 2009 as a private equity venture capital firm that continued the pursuit of my passions in the investment banking market and Africa energy. The firm has been involved in projects in Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Seychelles, Liberia, Mozambique and Nigeria. Historically Stonechair financed upstream oil and gas projects. Over the last few years though Stonechair has broadened the investments thesis to include energy projects of all sorts in both upstream and downstream realizations.
Where do you see the opportunities for growth within the industry in the next 5 years and how is Stonechair Capital positioned to support these opportunities?
That is a fantastically charged question. Energy is fuel for the engine that feeds the growth that Sub-Saharan Africa. As many countries look towards the opportunities that increased infrastructure spending may provide, often overlooked is reliable energy to support that growth. Significant amounts of energy are needed to continue the transformation of economies in Africa into the developed, producing, innovative members of not just Africa but of the world that they have aspired. Members of Stonechair have been participants in the energy story of Sub-Saharan Africa for the last 20 years. The regional knowledge contained with Stonechair is vital to its understanding of projects and the domestic idiosyncrasies that inevitably surface. Assisting with a project's on the ground realities of life along with effective communication to the financial institutions the world over all the while providing financial support is how Stonechair Capital continues to succeed in Africa.
What are some of the factors for potential investors to consider when looking at the African continent?
An energy project is an energy project. The fundamental data does not change. The people and the culture associated with that project are what changes. Just because something was done a certain way in the past does not mean it will be done that way in the future. Flexibility and creativity need to be part of any solution. More sources of capital are available than ever before. It is not all coming from New York or London anymore. A connection to a worldwide network of analysts, financiers, critics, and supporters has never been more critical than now.
How important is the Africa Assembly as a meeting platform for the industry and what are you most looking forward to at the Assembly?
The Africa Assembly has historically been a place for a collection of capital and deal-makers to gather. The world continues to shrink, and this gathering itself is becoming more educated about the realm of possibilities in the evolving landscape. We all have access to the same data in a moment in time the world over. It is the drive and the desire of individuals that share ideas at events like this that affect change for the industry and create the opportunity for Africa and its investors alike.
If you were to nominate an award winner for an industry success story from the last year, what would the award be and who/ which company would you award it too?
The Oil and Gas Council has many ways to express delight in its members and itself. The success of the past is not always a productive mindset when looking forward to a changing outlook. As such I am going to nominate not an operator but a philosophy put into action. The Chinese government has done more for infrastructure investments in Africa over the last few years thereby spurring on the oil and gas industry more than any discovery or oil price over the previous five years. We as a western focused industry need to acknowledge the new participants in our field, the influence they have had, and the impact they will continue to have for years to follow. I would suggest having the Chinese ambassador to France invited to the Assembly for receipt of an award in this category.
About Chris McLean
The passion Mr. McLean has for energy projects is transferred directly to a Stonechair Capital objective to advance the development of energy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Chris Mclean will be joining the Oil & Gas Council as a panel speaker at the 2018 Africa Assembly, taking place on the 5th and 6th of June in Paris. For more information about the Assembly, click here.