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African countries are well-positioned to help plug a looming gas supply void in Europe

South Africa, along with Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal and Mauritania, could yield additional natural gas export hubs in the future. REUTERS/Ian Hodgson

South Africa, along with Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal and Mauritania, could yield additional natural gas export hubs in the future. REUTERS/Ian Hodgson

Published Jul 6, 2022

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SOUTH Africa, along with Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal and Mauritania, could yield additional natural gas export hubs in the future.

This after recent exploration drilling success offshore in West Africa and South Africa was expected to have a positive impact, with 13 more high impact wells (HIWs) forecast to be drilled in the near term.

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According to the second quarter Africa Energy Chamber Report released yesterday, successful drilling of Brulpadda and Luiperd offshore of South Africa, and the more recent Venus and Graff discoveries offshore of Namibia, have highlighted the region as a new exploration hub of sorts.

In what the report described as a bumper year compared to the two previous ones, 2022 has potential for three more HIWs – Osprey (Namibia), Gazania and Wolf (South Africa) – which are expected to be drilled in the coming months.

South Africa’s foray in to the sector is heavily overshadowed by LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports coming out of Nigeria and Algeria, with smaller volumes from Egypt, Angola and a fraction from Equatorial Guinea.

“In addition, large-scale discoveries offshore in Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal, Mauritania and South Africa have the potential to yield additional natural gas exports once developed,” the report said.

With the advent of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, the report said, numerous African countries were well-positioned to help plug a looming gas supply void in Europe as governments and companies in the latter continent look to scale back their dependence on Russian supplies.

“Africa is conservatively forecast to reach peak gas production at 470 billion cubic metres (Bcm) by the late 2030s, equivalent to about 75 percent of the expected amount of gas produced by Russia in 2022. 2022 natural gas output from Africa is expected to reach about 260 Bcm.

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“While the near-term forecast suggests a drop in output to about 240 Bcm by 2025, the trend is expected to reverse post-2025, with 2030 natural gas flows expected to reach over 335 Bcm,” it noted.

Main producers in the near-term include Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt accounting for about 80 percent of the entire continent’s natural gas production through the years 2022 to 2025.

Nigeria and Algeria together are expected to contribute to more than 65 percent of the LNG exports from Africa to international markets. Even with the number of gas projects being developed or currently delayed, Africa still has significant production potential.

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