- East African gas has around one-third of the global average carbon content and is extremely low in liquids.
- Unni Fijaer, Vice President and Tanzania country manager for Equinor adds that the gas is ideal for meeting the world’s energy needs while minimising emissions.
- Lower carbon levels make East African Coast gas reserves more attractive to investors.
The vast gas reserves off the East Coast of Africa have significantly lower carbon content than the global average. This unique characteristic renders them more attractive to international investors and export markets amid the ongoing energy transition.
A recent panel discussion at the AOW Investing in African Energy event in Cape Town, South Africa, revealed this valuable insight. This underscores the pivotal role of African gas in the evolving global energy landscape.
East African gas reserves cleanest
“The beauty of gas derived from the East Coast of Africa is that it is extremely low on CO2 content,” said Unni Fijaer, Vice President and Tanzania country manager for Equinor, which is currently developing offshore natural gas resources in Tanzania.
“This East African gas has around one-third of the global average of carbon content, and is also extremely low in liquids,” said Fijaer. “It is a really pure gas, which makes it ideal for meeting the world’s energy needs while minimising its carbon emissions impacts.”
Fijaer spoke at an AOW panel discussion on how Africa might monetise its gas resources by unlocking its enormous reserves to meet domestic energy needs and accessing export markets.
Many conference speakers emphasized gas’s role in the transition to renewable energy. It can meet development needs, alleviate energy poverty, enhance security, and reduce carbon emissions compared to oil.
Despite its potential, Africa has not fully tapped gas as a transition fuel. An IEA report revealed over 5,000 billion cubic meters of undeveloped natural gas resources in Africa. If harnessed, these resources could yield 90 bcm annually by 2030, limiting the continent’s carbon emissions to just 3.5 per cent of the global total.
Resource-driven development in Africa
“We currently face two related global challenges,” said Fijaer. “We are facing the impacts of climate change, which we have all experienced. But at the same time, there is a significant gap when it comes to access to energy. Gas offers a solution.”
Fijaer added that gas presented a chance for resource-driven development in Africa. She likened this potential to Norway’s transformation into a highly developed nation following its 1969 oil discoveries off the coast.
“Norway was a pretty poor country, but when oil and gas were discovered, the government ensured that revenues were channelled into the country’s development,” said Fijaer. “African countries with gas reserves like Tanzania can embark on a similar development journey, as long as we ensure that energy projects are a win-win arrangement for both investors and the host nations.”
A new gas project on Africa’s Eastern coastline has commenced production. Eni, the operator, anticipates it could eventually contribute around 2 per cent to Mozambique’s national GDP this year. The resource is located in the Rovuma Basin and is estimated to contain 2,400 billion cubic meters of gas.
Mozambique enters LNG stage
“The Coral South Project in the Rovuma Basin is a landmark project for the industry and firmly places Mozambique onto the global LNG stage,” said Eni Rovuma Basin Technical Director Ivan Codognotto. “The project has come on stream within just five years. It is already generating benefits for the Mozambican economy, creating jobs, revenue, training and business growth.”
Fijaer emphasized that energy revenues possess the potential to bring about profound transformation within a nation. They can bolster the country’s finances and open doors for increased investments in education and healthcare for its citizens.
Echoing this perspective, Ombeni Sifue, Chairman of the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, asserted that the country should harness its resources to improve the well-being of its people.
“Africa’s resources have enriched a lot of people, but not Africans,” he said. “Its time to use Africa’s resources for its own development, and to address energy poverty.”