Africa’s rising LNG producers address domestic power problems

APRNew LNG projects in Africa can possibly meet the energy needs of the continent. (Image source: APR Energy)As Africa’s gas consumption has been increasing at a yearly rate of 6 per cent since 2000, countries like Congo, Mozambique, Rwanda and Sudan have emerged as viable LNG producers, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young Global Limited

The report, Natural Gas in Africa, has noted that oil’s dominance in West Africa is gradually giving way to gas, while East Africa’s gas sector has progressed from virtually non-existent to the potential gas prospects in 10 years.

While the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Africa historically has been concentrated in Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, the prospects for gas in the rest of Africa have steadily increased in recent years, thus opening the opportunities for export, as well as supporting the demand for reliable power on the continent, said Victor Mallet, director of sales for Sub-Saharan Africa in APR Energy.

“One example of LNG’s potential in Africa is in Ghana, where the country’s massive Sankofa development is expected to start producing LNG in 2018, and provide around 2,000MW of generation capacity to Ghana’s power grid,” Mallet said.

In June 2017, the US$7bn Coral South LNG project in Mozambique, which is expected to produce 3.4mn tonnes of gas per year, was given the green light. There is a US$30bn onshore LNG plant in Tanzania. Additionally, Ethiopia and Rwanda have recently announced major gas projects.

According to Mallet, most of these countries hope to increases in electricity demand of 15-30 per cent per year, while others like Rwanda are experiencing significant shortfalls in electricity supply.

Mallet further added that the installation of mobile gas turbines running on LNG may be one of the cost-effective ways for these countries to expand their generating capacity. The turbines, which use the same proven technology found in airplane jet engines, provides additional advantages, including significantly lower emissions than the typical diesel reciprocating engines found in the temporary power market.

One of the greatest benefits of fast-track power using mobile gas turbines is speed. Fast-track power provides rapid access to reliable electricity, typically within 30-90 days, and it can bridge the gap during the years required to plan, finance and construct permanent generating capacity, he said.

“In countries where construction of permanent generation is delayed due to lack of funding, such as Rwanda, bridging power provided by mobile fast-track power generation can stimulate immediate economic growth, contributing to the country’s GDP and creating revenue to invest in long-term power solutions,” Mallet says.

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