Africa’s LNG Potential and Market Constraints Investigated During AEW 2022 discussion

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Opened by a keynote presentation by Karl Staubo, CEO of Golar LNG, a panel discussion entitled Africa’s LNG Revolution: Solution for Africa and the World, held during the African Energy Week (AEW) 2022 conference, explored Africa’s LNG developments and its role in fast-tracking the development, exploitation, and monetization of the continent’s vast natural gas resources.

 

Moderated by Philippe Cohen, CFO of Kariya Energy, the panel discussion, held at the One & Only Hotel at the Waterfront in Cape Town on October 19, included speakers Maxime Miloyan, Vice President for LNG at TechnipEnergies; Mamadou Fall KANE, Deputy Secretary at COS-PETROGAZ; Nick Mitchell, Executive Director and COO of Renergen; Dr Ben Asante, CEO of Ghana Gas; and Vladimir Ilyanin, Deputy Managing Director of International Business Development and Strategy of Gazprom EP International BV.

With Africa seeking to leverage its vast natural gas resources to address its looming electricity shortages, the discussion explored LNG development across the continent.

In his opening remarks, Staubo said that natural gas and LNG are the second-fastest growing energy sectors through 2050 because the resource can provide baseload power, stating that, “If you want to be green while continuing to provide baseload, you will need to invest in LNG.”

Commenting on why LNG is important for African consumers, Asante said “LNG is the least atmospheric-offensive energy resource compared to other resources available for Africa. Most of the power generation in Africa currently is thermal, and gas is the fuel of choice. Using oil to generate 1,000 MW of power, we needed 4,000 barrels per day, which costs $70 million. But with gas the bill is now half, meaning gas is cheap. In terms of carbon emissions, with oil we used to emit 8.3 million tons of carbon. But now with LNG, we are only emitting 1.2 million tons. We are also planning to use gas as a feedstock for industries including cement and plastic, beyond power generation, to decarbonize our wider economy. LNG is the only resource at the moment that can help us address power outages. With LNG, we can store and use the energy at a later time, unlike piped gas, which you have to use instantly.”

Miloyan added that the most significant benefits of LNG are that, “it is a reliable source of energy and it is flexible as it avoids bottlenecks created by geopolitics. In terms of good health to the community, LNG is one of the best solutions and in regard to job creation, provides long-term opportunities and skills development.”

Speaking on the challenges hindering the growth of the African LNG industry, Asante added that, “Infrastructure has been the main barrier to transporting and trading gas across Africa. Ghana is a net-importer of gas, although we have local production from three fields. However, our demand is so huge that we will have to import. Among 55 countries in Africa, 16 are landlocked, hence an opportunity for the continent to use shipping and LNG to address energy poverty.”

Mitchell said, “Funding is one of the biggest challenges. Only 33% of the continent’s proven resources are economically recoverable. Hence, Africa needs to develop local markets and invest in its entire energy value chain and build an integrated energy system.”

Ilyanin highlighted that, with cooperation among African countries vital to ensuring energy security, Africa is yet to explore regional LNG trading to boost industry growth. He added that LNG provides a solution for the continent to exploit and monetize stranded assets.

In agreement with Ilyanin’s notion, Kane reiterated, “With 85% of gas produced in Africa exported, we need to make sure that the LNG is leveraged in Africa to address continental energy challenges and to ensure the system is cost effective. Africa needs to focus on developing its own gas market.”

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