On the demand side, Africa’s large, urbanised and industrialised societies of the future will require reliable and sustainable power generation. With greenfield investments in Nigeria, Egypt, Mozambique and elsewhere reaching nearly $103bn this year, it is clear that liquefaction is viewed as the most profitable strategy for realising Africa’s gas potential.
In North Africa, Egypt has successfully re-established itself as an important investment destination following the downturn in the gas sector in 2014. In the first half of 2019, the behemoth Zohr offshore gas field produced 11.3-billion cubic metres - 3.6 times more than it did in 1H2018. The success is set to continue with reports earlier this year of a new Eni discovery in the Nour North Sinai Concession. Evaluation is ongoing but there are hopes that the new field could rival the Zohr, which would open significant opportunities for investment in new liquification plants. In February, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Corporation awarded five new gas exploration concessions to Shell, ExxonMobil, Petronas, DEA and Eni in which it expects to see 20 wells drilled.
In June, Anadarko gave its final approval for a $20bn gas liquefaction and export terminal in Mozambique. The Area 1 project is the single largest LNG project ever approved in Africa. And, it could be closely followed by Exxon’s Area 4 development – FID is expected before the end of the year. Political stability and access to east Asian markets could see Mozambique become a major global gas market over the next decade.
In terms of African demand for LNG, South Africa – the most industrialised economy on the continent – could be an influential market.
Heavy coal consumption and unreliable power generation make natural gas an attractive solution to diversify its power generation base. In 2020, Transnet – a state-owned freight logistics firm – will launch a tender for the development of an LNG import terminal at Richards Bay Port. The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation has committed $2m to fund the project planning.
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