Sub-Sahara Africa’s Growing Need to Increase Gas Production and Marketing Scope -By Sunny Oputa
A recent report by the International Energy Agency states that gas is expected to be 24% of the world’s energy mix by 2040, showing a 2% rise from 2016. In same forecast LNG’s market share will rise to almost 40% in 2023, indicating another 13% rise from what it was in 2017. This strongly showcases thee gas boom which is globally expected as the global demand of natural gas and LNG continue to increase. A huge appetite for gas is increasing in Asia and Europe and the world clamors for environmental sanity through clean energy in which natural gas dwarfs coal and crude oil.
As the demand of gas and use of LNG gains, its production has also received global prominence by producing nations amid a new struggle for enlarging market shares. United States of America still holds the forte as the biggest natural gas producers in the world, followed by Russia, Iran, Qatar and Canada. In 2017, United States of America experienced a tremendous increase in gas production as a result of the shale, producing 750 billion cubic meters and Russia which invested heavily same year in gas infrastructures and production had 628 billion cubic meters.
While the total production of gas from Africa, as of 2016 was 208.4 billion cubic meters a far cry from what was obtainable in USA, Russia and other major producers. Sub-Saharan Africa is still crawling in gas production with only few trains of LNG, been led by Nigeria. This triggers a major question to understand Sub-Saharan Africa’s readiness to embrace the gas boom and ensure economic development? To benefit from the upcoming gas boom, Sub-Saharan Africa producers should engage in major gas exploration and production, and also increase their LNG trains, invest heavily in infrastructures and diplomatically expand their market pies beyond Asia to Europe.
A latest report from The Wall Street Journal stated that European Union has created a new strategy which makes a LNG a priority, with the objective of ensuring the diversification of energy sources and ensure that no EU member state is dependent on a single supplier. This is a grand opportunity which Sub-Saharan Africa producers must explore.
European LNG market is dominated by Russia that controls 30% of the market share. United States of America is pushing strongly to gain a bigger pie in the European LNG and natural gas market. LNG market statistics by Andy Flowers, a U.K based independent LNG consultant shows that in the first half of this year, the United States of America supplied 9.8 million tons of LNG globally, and had 59% of the exports to Asia, while 4% to Europe. With the latest trade war going on, EU has agreed to ameliorate the pangs of tariff on steel by the United States to buy more LNG from America. This is good news for United States which is creating a strong force in the exportation of LNG globally.
The question remains is there any strength in Sub-Saharan Africa diplomacy to gain new markets in this burgeoning gas era?