Africa will contribute as much as 9.2% to global natural gas production by 2040
NATURAL gas growth prospects were outlined during the 2nd Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) International Gas Seminar recently.
According to the GECF’s Global Gas Outlook Model, natural gas will be the only hydrocarbon source to increase its share in the global energy mix, remaining the fastest-growing fossil fuel. GECF member countries currently represent 71% of natural gas reserves, 44% of marketed gas production, 55% of pipeline gas trade and 53% of LNG trade globally.
“Our main message is that natural gas is the destination fuel and will play a central role in energy transitions. We continue and will continue to defend the position of the Forum on benchmark prices, stressing that oil indexation is still the optimum choice for buyers and sellers of gas,” H.E. Yury Sentyurin, Secretary General of the GECF, said.
The African continent is set to increase its presence in the global energy sphere, more than doubling its natural gas production by 2040 and altering the global energy supply mix in the process. Africa will contribute as much as 9.2% to global natural gas production by 2040, resulting in an expansion from 255 bcm (billions of cubic metres) to more than 505 bcm and corresponding to a compound average annual growth rate of 3.4%.
“Natural gas will continue to be in demand and will help us meet the objectives of sustainable development and the energy transition for our country, for Africa and for the world,” noted H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea.
“We are working on the gradual implementation and exploration of various gas fields. All of the work that we are doing is in line with the policies that the international community is asking us to have for fossil fuels. We want to protect the environment and provide for the needs of remote communities in rural Africa.”
“Natural gas is growing to become the fuel of choice globally,” stated H.E. Dr. Seyed Mohammed Hossein Adeli, Head of the Iranian Delegation. “The share of gas in the energy mix used to be 18%. Currently, it is 23% and has the prospect to increase to 26% in the next couple of decades. Gas is replacing coal and oil. Coal represents 26% and will be down to 17-18%. Oil is now dominating at 32% and is going to be down to 25-26%. This goes mostly to gas and renewables.”
With an abundance of natural gas, virtually on our doorstep, why aren’t we looking into converting our aging, inefficient, high maintenance and polluting coal fired power stations to natural gas? Conversion projects undertaken in the USA in recent times cost in the region of $205-million or +/- R4-billion in our money for an 800 MW station – considerable less than horrendous per MW cost overruns of Medupi and Kusile and a far cry from the recent utterances from Eskom of the R300-billion price tag to clean up our existing coal fired stations to meet pollution control targets.
A conversion to gas fired boilers will make costly coal carrying conveyor systems obsolete, and the transportation of coal, often by road or rail, to feed power stations will also disappear, together with a substantial reduction in (often blamed) maintenance costs, health and environmental benefits.
The converted Joliet plant, 60 km southwest of Chicago has recorded emission reductions of 99.9% for sulphur dioxide, 97% for particulate matter, 34% for nitrogen oxides plus a (undisclosed) CO2 reduction, according to a company spokesperson.
While suitable candidates for conversion – according to the Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group – are stations that are 50-plus years old, less than 300 MW and have sub-critical utility boilers; that shouldn’t rule out further investigations into converting our 6 x 600 MW or 3 600 MW stations. Two of the Juliet station’s generators are 518 MW units…
Clearly the coal interests will be up in arms at the suggestion, but it’s time we prioritised the national interest against the few with political connections: you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and this would taste real good.