The International Roundtable titled “The Benefits of Natural Gas for the Population and the Economy” was held today in Johannesburg (South Africa). The event took place under the auspices of the African Energy Chamber with support from Gazprom.
Taking part in the Roundtable were Ilya Rogachev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the SAR and concurrently to the Kingdom of Lesotho, Dmitry Khandoga, Head of Department at Gazprom, NJ Ayuk, Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, as well as representatives of business communities, experts and journalists from nine African countries: Kenya, Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania.
The participants discussed the role of natural gas in the sustainable development of Africa. It was noted that most countries on the African continent are still facing the problem of energy availability and their energy consumption is several times below the world average.
At the same time, according to expert estimates, Africa will generate over 60 per cent of the global population growth by 2050. Taking into account the current urbanization trend, the region is expected to experience a significant economic growth, which will be accompanied by a two-fold increase in energy consumption. In particular, the demand for natural gas will increase by 2.5 times.
It was highlighted at the event that an increase in natural gas production will help meet the growth in gas demand on the African continent. However, as of today, the bulk of gas produced in Africa is exported abroad. For instance, every third person in Nigeria, the largest African LNG exporter, has no access to energy. This is why it is the availability of energy for the industry and population that will be of primary importance for Africa’s dynamic development.
The participants of the Roundtable discussed the benefits of using natural gas as compared to other types of energy sources. It was noted that air pollution is a major concern for the continent. According to the statistics, polluted air is among the leading causes of premature deaths on the continent. This problem can only grow bigger over time. It was highlighted that all areas of activities making the biggest contribution to air pollution can be effectively addressed through the use of natural gas.
The potential role of gas in solving the food problem was also highlighted at the event. Besides the fact that the use of gas does not require large areas for electric power generation and does not lead to the reduction of cropped agricultural areas, gas is also a valuable raw material for the production of fertilizers which make it possible to significantly increase crop yields.
Presentations were delivered at the Roundtable by the representatives of Gazprom and the Gazprom Group companies, namely, Gazprom Gazifikatsiya, Gazprom Energoholding and Gazprom Helium Service. Their presentations provided information about the activities of Gazprom and the extensive scope of the Company’s competencies along the entire value chain of the gas business.
“Considering that the Government of the Republic of South Africa pursues the economy decarbonization policy, gas can become an effective solution to satisfy the demand for energy, as renewable energy sources cannot provide uninterrupted energy supplies. Therefore, I believe that Gazprom’s experience in natural gas liquefaction and gas pipeline construction projects can be of interest to our South African partners,” said Ilya Rogachev.
“Wider use of natural gas will help Africa solve a number of problems, from economic to social and environmental ones. We are confident that it is essential for Africa to discover all the advantages brought about by this type of fuel. We see potential in cooperation with African countries and we can offer them our unique expertise and our experience in technology. Gazprom is open to discuss constructive and mutually beneficial proposals which could facilitate economic development and improve the lives of people in African countries,” said Dmitry Khandoga.
“More than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have electricity. And 900 million people, most of them women, do not have access to clean cooking technologies – these technologies are either absent or there is a lack of them. Even if we look at this single problem alone, we see that it makes sense to use the rich gas resources of the continent. As Africa needs industrialization, the use of affordable and abundant natural gas will encourage the creation of a significant number of jobs, as well as possibilities for the strengthening of potential, economic diversification and growth,” said NJ Ayuk.
The African Energy Chamber is the voice of the African energy sector and the continent’s largest organization that brings together energy market players from Africa and from all over the world. Its main objective is to promote the continent’s energy development. The African Energy Chamber is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa.