Gas could power SA growth

 

A gas economy could significantly drive South African economic growth, and the discovery of substantial natural gas reserves in the Karoo would be akin to finding gold and sparking a new gold (gas) rush, speakers said at the opening of the 4th annual Africa LPG Summit and Natural Gas and CNG Africa Forum in Johannesburg on 11 July 2017.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) could pave the way for a gas economy, with imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) and indigenous South African gas exploration following, delegates heard. However, challenges such as affordability and accessibility of LPG, the regulatory environment, and a dearth of infrastructure and skills stood in the way of a rapid move to a gas economy, they said.

Niall Kramer, CEO of the South African Oil & Gas Alliance (SAOGA), said that there is enormous interest in potentially exploring for oil and gas in South Africa. However, the amended Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) is not in place yet, and investors want clarity and stability before investing in exploration.

Opening session panellists said gas made up only 3% of Africa’s energy mix currently, and could easily be increased to 10% of the mix, creating jobs and growing the economy. Assuming South Africa has large shale gas reserves, these would need to be used in a disciplined and strategic way, said Kramer.

Noting that LPG’s place within the gas economy could be to pave the way to widespread acceptance of gas, Kramer said lessons that could be learnt from LPG included managing competition, scale, access, transport, safety, price and scalability.

Renzo Bee, chairman of the Policy, Regulation & Development Advisory Group at the Global LPG Partnership (GLPGP), said much of sub-Saharan Africa is completely under-developed in terms of gas consumption. The average is less than 3 kg per capita. He forecast that by 2030 the region could have a population of 1,4-billion, with over 470-million cylinders in circulation, 17 500 marketers or distributors, 1,1-million retail outlets or shops and 420 filling plants. To increase penetration, an investment in millions of cylinders will be required, he said.

Contact Leigh Angelo, Tradeprojects, Tel 011 869-9153, leigh@tradeprojects.co.za

 

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