Nigeria and other African countries are considering the critical role of natural gas in the energy transition amid fears that security of energy supply may be threatened.
This is coming amid lacklustre financing and pressure from developing countries to fast-track their transformation.
To this end, Africa Energy ministers, who converged for the Africa Oil Week conference in Dubai on Monday, nonetheless, said countries in the continent would rely heavily on fossil fuels like natural gas to drive the energy transformation.
Although the 55 African countries account for only four per cent of the world’s total emissions, they are being asked to implement energy transition policies when most of them are contending with low access to electricity.
“When we say energy transition, it does not exactly apply to Africa. Our agenda is access to reliable and affordable energy,” commissioner for infrastructure and energy of the African Union Commission, Amani Abou-Zeid, said during the Africa Oil Week conference.
African countries want the global community and investors in particular to exploit their growing gas resources to be used as a transition fuel, ministers told Africa Oil Week.
“In addition to working to reduce emissions, we need support of investors because we need to exploit gas and we need more financing for that,” Senegal’s minister of petroleum and energies, Aissatou Sophie Gladima, said.
Nearly 40 per cent of global new gas discoveries in the last decade were in Africa, mainly Senegal, Mauritania, Mozambique, Tanzania, with 17 countries producing gas, seven net exporters and seven net importers, according to the African Energy Commission.
However, over 45 per cent of African natural gas production is exported and the contribution of gas in energy balance is ‘minimal.’
Mauritania, which is developing the floating Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG project offshore with Senegal, wants the continent to be given time to tap its nascent oil and gas industry, said minister of petroleum, mines and energy, Abdessalam Saleh.
He added that, “as African countries we have just started to discover our own fossil fuels. So, the big question for us is; how we move along this dynamic of energy transition while optimizing the use of our fossil fuels.”
On November 2, Nigeria committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2060 and President Muhammadu Buhari underlined the importance of gas as a transition fuel.
Buhari said, for Nigeria and other African countries, gas should be embraced as transitional fuel and not be demonised.