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Local content provision has long been a hot topic in the oil and gas industry, but many delegates at the 3-4 October Africa Investment Exchange: Nairobi event were surprised at how far the issue could generate controversy and block support for electricity projects. Several African delegates spoke of building local content into projects to drive industrialisation that, in turn, will improve living standards and stimulate demand for power. But one major funder insisted their institution could not support projects that created “market distortions” contravening the European Union’s standard procurement procedures.


Gas-fuelled power projects have an important role to play in Africa, according to African Energy Live Data’s figures. The Africa-wide database lists 313 operating gas-fired plants, with 84,226MW of installed capacity; another 39 plants are under construction (with total 32,933MW capacity) and 156 are planned (66,921MW). The majority are utility-scale facilities supplying national grids; Live Data records 206 of these as operational (75,487MW), 33 under construction (28,754MW) and 119 planned (58,061MW).

Issue 423 - 24 September 2020

New gas investments face big challenges


Competition is believed to be intense as bidding closes to take over Sasol’s 50% stake in the Rompco pipeline, which runs 865km from the Temane gas field in Mozambique to Sasol’s Secunda complex in Mpumalanga.


The most abundant element on earth, hydrogen, already has industrial uses, but it could do much more to transform the global energy mix as industrialised economies and the global south decarbonise. Judged by the welter of governmental and corporate statements, hydrogen is featuring large in the thoughts of planners and project promoters. These range from Chinese hydrocarbons giant Sinopec’s plans to reallocate some of its Rmb87bn ($13bn) cash pile to projects “all along the hydrogen chain” to Australian junior miner AVZ Minerals’ green lithium mine project at Manono in Democratic Republic of Congo.

DR Congo | South Africa

The problems of Nigeria’s southeast are rarely far from being a political and oil company preoccupation. Issues of governance and reputational damage weigh heavy on majors’ perceptions about operating in a lucrative but troubled region as lawyers busy themselves acting for local communities against Royal Dutch Shell and potentially other IOCs in a series of class actions. The new military top team appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari is challenged with reducing insecurity, including from rising levels of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.


With sky-high prices apparently a thing of the past, the outlook is gloomy for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters, even in the most lucrative markets, such as Japan. With a predicted supply glut running into the next decade and price pressures accentuated by the fast-emerging spot market (for more on this see African Energy’s sister publication Gulf States News http://www.gsn-online.com/amid-shifting-global-gas-supply-gulf-states-emerge-as-their-own-best-market) only a few major projects are still expected to go ahead worldwide. In Africa, these include Eni’s Zohr field in Egypt and developments in Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin (as well as its smaller, more southerly fields supplying South Africa).


Cameroon may be the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s largest economy, but it remains a political and commercial enigma. Decision-making can move at a glacial pace, in a political system dominated by President Paul Biya, whose apparent aspirations to be re-elected to a fourth seven-year term are a cause of concern, not least for a youthful population living in poor economic and social circumstances. However, progress has been made in delivering services, reflected in the energy sector by national utility Eneo, owned by UK private equity investor Actis, and Victoria Oil and Gas’s growing business selling gas to industry and consumers in commercial hub Douala.


Investors, contractors and financiers have been reassessing southern Africa’s potential to emerge as a natural gas producer, supply hub and importer of molecules and electrons for gas-to-power (GTP) schemes. Mozambique’s emergence as an LNG exporter gives it potential to develop new gas-based industry and infrastructure. Developments in southern Mozambique further suggest it could drive a wider regional industry, with more gas exported by pipeline.

Mozambique | Botswana | Lesotho | Angola | Namibia | Malawi | eSwatini (Swaziland) | Zambia | Zimbabwe | South Africa

What’s not to like for investors in President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s Egypt? The government’s International Monetary Fund-supported reform programme has greatly improved macroeconomic conditions; Egypt was a rare economy that reported some growth in Covid-plagued 2020, despite a huge downturn in tourism and other key revenue-earners. Its commitment to accelerating infrastructure development has sucked funds into global-scale solar and wind power programmes.