Harnessing and Investing in Africa’s Natural Gas Market Expansion
Africa is well positioned to utilize its domestic gas resources to address energy poverty, spurring socioeconomic growth and industrialization in the process. However, regulatory reforms, massive investments and improved regional cooperation are required to enable the continent to harness its gas resources. These are some of the key takeaways from a panel discussion which explored the opportunities and challenges within Africa’s gas market at the Namibia International Energy Conference which runs from 20 – 21 April in Windhoek.
Speakers for the panel discussion, “Harnessing and Investing in Natural Gas: Opportunities and Strategies,” included Dr. Klaus Endresen, General Manager, BW Kudu; Angie Helmi, Chief Investment Officer, Egypt Kuwait Holding; and Dr. Riverson Oppong, Commercial Operations Manager, Ghana National Gas Company. Representing Namibia, Ghana and Egypt, the speakers provided insight into the respective gas markets.
Highlighting the progress made within Namibia’s gas sector and what needs to be done locally and continentally to improve the market, Dr. Klaus Endresen, made a strong case for natural gas in Namibia.
“For gas development to take place, the government has to play an important role. Gas is something new. So, government must be a champion, they must take an active position and demonstrate that gas shall and can play a significant role in the economy. It is also up to government to shed misconceptions; gas is not a threat to renewable energy but an enabler. Government should also have international perspective. The Namibian market is limited so it is only through international energy cooperation that we can reach the full economics of scale. Government should pay more attention to transmission capacity. Generating is not enough,” stated Dr. Endresen.
The recommendation by Dr. Klaus Endresen come at a time Namibia seeks to maximize the exploitation and monetization of its 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves to address domestic energy woes while increasing energy exports. In this regard, the Namibian government is increasing exploration activities and the development of infrastructure such as a pipeline which BW Kudu is developing to transport gas from the Kudu Gas Field to power a 420 MW power plant to be established in Elizabeth Bay.
Additionally, while Africa has remained a climate champion, the exploitation of gas will enable the region to fast-forward its energy transition by ensuring the decarbonization of the transport and power generation segments in addition to ensuring clean cooking. Egypt is one of the leading African countries when it comes to utilizing gas for domestic consumption and economic growth.