All posts tagged GAS MONETISATION


Egypt Plans to Put out the Flares with Baker Hughes’ flare.IQ Technology

PARTNER CONTENT

Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Baker Hughes Partner to Reduce Emissions from Flaring Operations

  • Baker Hughes’ flare.IQ technology to support Egypt’s decarbonization targets by managing and reducing methane emissions at an Alexandria-area refinery
  • Flare emissions management project is Phase 1 of wider flare recovery initiative in Egypt
  • Partnership marks first downstream deployment for flare.IQ in Egypt and comes ahead of COP27 in November 2022, to be hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh

Baker Hughes and Petrosafe, a subsidiary of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), have announced a contract that will mark the first deployment of Baker Hughes’ flare.IQ technology in refinery operations in Egypt to help reduce emissions from oil and gas flaring operations.

This initial phase of a broader flare recovery partnership will be implemented at the APC Refinery in Alexandria. The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources (MoPMR) aims to reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of oil and gas operations as part of its ambitious aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from this sector.

Methane is one of the most harmful forms of emissions — 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period*. Incomplete combustion of flared gas is one of the major source of methane emissions across the oil and gas industry. By using flare.IQ technology from Panametrics, a Baker Hughes business, EGPC will further digitalize its emissions management infrastructure and pull critical information about its flare systems, substantially reducing emissions by ensuring a higher-efficiency flare combustion rate.

The contract comes at a significant moment as Egypt prepares to host the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in November and contributes to the Global Methane Pledge.

“Our flare recovery partnership with Baker Hughes is an important step in Egypt’s Petroleum Sector Modernization program as we start implementing MoPMR projects included within Egypt’s Climate Change Strategy 2050, as announced in May 2022,” said H.E. Tarek El-Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. “Phase one of the partnership, the deployment of flare.IQ, will support our flare recovery ambitions, which is one of our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in support of the Paris Agreement objectives. We look forward to seeing the impact of flare.IQ help improve the quality of life for residents near the Alexandria plant and anticipate extending the scope to include other refineries across Egypt.”

“Better understanding and managing emissions is central to the oil and gas industry’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our partnership with MoPMR demonstrates how Baker Hughes continues to collaborate with our customers in taking positive action in emissions management,” said Rami Qasem, executive vice president of Digital Solutions at Baker Hughes. “This partnership with MoPMR supports its ambitious low-carbon strategy, and further underlines Egypt’s commitment to be at the forefront of tackling emissions in the oil and gas sector, as we approach COP 27.”

The contract follows the memorandum of understanding that was signed by the two companies in February 2022. The partnership between Baker Hughes and EGPC aims to establish and drive a flare recovery initiative to support emissions recovery and reduction across Egypt’s upstream and downstream oil and gas operations.

A Baker Hughes Statement says: “Part of the Baker Hughes Climate Technology Solutions portfolio, flare.IQ is fast, accurate, reliable, easy to deploy and cost effective. It has a proven track record in optimizing flare operations, achieving steam savings and significantly reducing methane emissions”.

 


Coral South Introduces Hydrocarbons to FLNG Offshore Mozambique

The Coral South Project has achieved the introduction of hydrocarbons to the Coral Sul Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) plant from the Coral South reservoir offshore Mozambique.

“Following the introduction of gas in the plant, Coral Sul FLNG will now be ready to achieve its first LNG cargo in the second half of 2022, adding Mozambique to the LNG-producing countries”, according to a statement by the Italian player ENI, the Upstream Delegated Operator of Area 4, on behalf of its partners ExxonMobil, CNPC, GALP, KOGAS and ENH.

“Hydrocarbons introduction comes after the safe and timely conclusion of the offshore commissioning activities”, ENI said. “The FLNG arrived at the final operating site offshore Mozambique in early January 2022; mooring and connection to six underwater production wells were finalized in March and May 2022, respectively”.

The Coral South project achieved Final Investment Decision in 2017.

“FLNG fabrication and construction activities started in September 2018 (Hull first steel cut), and were completed in 38 months as planned, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with a FLNG Sail Away, from South Korea to Mozambique, on November 2021”, the statement added. “While performing the construction activities in Korea, several significant activities were undertaken in Mozambique, with support from the Mozambican authorities, including the ultra-deep waters (2,000m wd) Drilling and Completion and Offshore Installation campaign that involved the highest technological and operational skills.

“Coral-Sul FLNG has been implemented with an energy optimization approach, integrated in the design via a systematic analysis of energy efficiency improvements. These include among others, zero flaring during normal operations, use of thermal efficient aero-derivative gas turbines for refrigerant compressors and generation, use of Dry Low NOx technology to reduce NOx emission and waste heat recovery systems for the process”.

The Coral Sul FLNG is 432 metres long and 66 metres wide, weights around 220,000 tons and has the capacity to accommodate up to 350 people in its eight-story Living Quarter module. The facility is located at a water-depth of around 2,000 metres and is kept in position by means of 20 mooring lines that totally weight 9,000 tons.

Coral Sul FLNG has a gas liquefaction capacity of 3.4Million tons per year (MTPA) and will put in production 16Trillion Cubic feet of gas from the giant Coral reservoir, located in the offshore Rovuma Basin.

Coral-Sul FLNG is the first floating LNG facility ever deployed in the deep waters of the African continent.

 


Egypt Signs a Gas Agreement With the EU

Egypt, Israel and the European Union (EU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase LNG exports across the Mediterranean.

The signature took place Wednesday June 15, 2022.

The agreement calls for Israel to pump more gas via a pipeline to Egypt’s two LNG facilities before exporting it on tanker vessels across the Mediterranean to Europe. It wasn’t clear how much gas Egypt will be exporting to the continent.

Europe is pivoting away from Russian gas import, as that country shells Ukraine with massive artillery fire, in what Europe considers an unprovoked invasion.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Israeli energy minister Karine Elharrar were in Cairo to seal the agreement.

“With this   agreement we will work on the stable delivery of natural gas to the EU from the East Med region”, tweeted von der Leyen after the signing ceremony. “This will contribute to our energy security. And we are building infrastructure fit for renewables – the energy of the future”.

The signing took place on the sidelines of a meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), which brings together officials from the eight founding countries, as well as observers the EU, the US and the World Bank.

Egypt has had a singular, intentional focus on being the Mediterranean regional hub for energy supply and demand. The EMGF has been a key foreign policy initiative of Cairo — where the forum is headquartered — that would see us be the LNG export hub for the region’s gas reserves. Apart from Israel, Egypt has agreements with Cyprus and Greece on pipelines that would see their gas sent to our facilities for re-export

Two days before the EU/Egypt/Israel agreement, Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas behemoth— which provides around 40% of Europe’s consumption — reduced supplies through the major Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 40%, blaming Siemens (the German engineering contractor) for malfunctions at its Baltic station. Russia had already cut off gas supplies to the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and Bulgaria for failing to pay in Russian currency, The Rubble.

 

 

 


Senegal Moves Close to Gas Exporters Forum

Senegal, a would-be gas producer and exporter and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), the global platform of the leading gas producing countries, have moved closer to discuss matters of common interest.

GECF Secretary General Mohamed Hamel held a meeting with Mouhamed Habibou Diallo, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Senegal to the State of Qatar during a courtesy call to the Senegalese Embassy in Doha Qatar, on June 7, 2022.

“The discussion primarily centred on ramping up cooperation between the two sides, as Senegal gets ready to become an LNG exporter by the end of 2023”, GECF says in a statement.

The secretary general introduced the history, impact and function of the GECF, and explained the numerous benefits available to the GECF Member Countries.

“Recalling the fruitful participation of HE Aissatou Sophie Gladima, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Senegal, in the 22nd GECF Ministerial Meeting (2020) hosted by Algeria, he expressed the wish to have Senegal present at the 24th GECF Ministerial Meeting in Cairo (2022)”, the statement notes.

“The GECF official invited the esteemed diplomat to the Forum’s headquarters to witness first-hand the many projections and datasets available through the GECF Global Gas Model and to leverage those insights on the development of gas industry in Senegal”.

The ambassador “reaffirmed the interest in learning from the experience of the GECF and its Member Countries, many of whom have successfully developed their natural gas reserves for the benefit of their nations as well as for the advancement of the global energy landscape”, the statement concludes.

For further information, kindly contact:

Nadezhda M. Lyubovskaya

+974 3337 3641

nadezhda.lyubovskaya@gecf.org

Sarmad Qazi

+974 5546 8758

sarmad.qazi@gecf.org

About Gas Exporting Countries Forum:

The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is an international intergovernmental organisation currently comprising of 19 Member Countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela as Member Countries, and Angola, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Malaysia, Mozambique, Norway, Peru, and United Arab Emirates as Observer Members. Together, the GECF Members represent 71% of the global proven gas reserves, 42% of marketed production, 53% of exports by pipeline and 55% as LNG.

The GECF is headquartered in Doha, Qatar.

www.gecf.org

Twitter.com/GECF_News

Linkedin.com/company/gecf-news/

 


Ghana Produces Less Than a Third of LPG Consumption

Locally produced Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) was less than a third of the consumption in Ghana in the year 2021, according to the report of the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC)

 Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) sold 90,327.56Metric Tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas from January to December, 2021, a figure that was less than a third of total consumption of 300,000Metric Tonnes.

This means that there’s huge opportunity for local manufacture of LPG, in a country that consumes over 300Million standard cubic feet (300MMscf/d) of lean gas, mostly for power generation.

The local production of LPG, though, has increased year on year. The 2021 output was a 11.31% increase on the 81,152.48MT produced in 2020.

This piece was originally published in the March 2022 edition of the monthly Africa Oil+Gas Report

 


TAQA Arabia Delivers CNG Vehicles to Equatorial Guinea

TAQA Arabia, the Egyptian midstream hydrocarbon infrastructure provider, has delivered its first five compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered vehicles in Equatorial Guinea as part of an agreement signed between the firm and the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons to collaborate on the development and expansion of the gas market in the central African country.

The agreement between the company and the country, penned in March 2022,  calls for rollout of midstream gas infrastructure in Equatorial Guinea, including the construction of the Punta Europe CNG project and CNG supply stations for vehicles across the country.

Equatorial Guinea is keen on optimizing the production and exploitation of its 1.5Trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves to address domestic energy needs as part of the county’s Gas Mega Hub ambitions.

The country, in early May 2022, extended exploration and production contracts for Block G with Trident Energy, Kosmos Energy, Panoro Energy and GEPetrol.

Equatorial Guinea’s transport sector is heavily reliant on diesel and petrol imports, but with increasing investments across the entire gas value chain the country can exploit its gas resources to meet energy access and affordability issues as well as energy independence.

 


NUPRC: Nigeria on Course to Bolster Its Gas Reserves by 20 Percent

By Macson Obojemuinmoin

“Engaging with operators on the need to drill below the conventional oil window to target gas rich zones”

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission says it is pulling out all the stops to increase the rate of natural gas utilization, expand the country’s gas market (both domestic and export) and thus encourage producers to commit to further exploration for gas.

“We are encouraging investors to leverage on the generous gas fiscal incentives in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) such as zero hydrocarbon tax, reduced royalty rates, tax consolidation provisions amongst others to take Final Investment Decisions on their proposed upstream projects”, says Gbenga Komolafe, the commission’s Chief Executive.

“Based on the provisions of the PIA, the Commission has issued the annual Domestic Gas Delivery Obligation (DGDO) to all lessees. This allows the Commission to drive gas production growth as operators are made to balance the export appetite with increasing domestic supply of gas”, Komolafe explains.

Nigeria produces about Eight (8)Billion standard cubic feet of gas 8Bscf/d, out of which about 20% is delivered to the domestic market, approximately 40% is exported to international markets, 30% is utilised for producer’s internal consumption and the excess gas is flared, the commission maintains.

“With a proven gas reserve base of 208.62Trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf) (as at 1st January 2022), we are on track to increase our reserves volumes to 220Tcf in less than 10 years and 250Tcf thereafter”, the CE declares in a report sheet of his six months in office.

One initiative that the Commission is implementing to improve finding success for gas, is “constant engagement with operators on the need to drill below the conventional oil window to target gas rich zones for production and increase the nation’s gas reserves”, the CE explains. Another initiative is to “steer operators with saturated reservoirs to ensure their well placements drive optimal exploitation of oil and gas resources”, Komolafe remarks.

A career public servant, Mr. Komolafe was appointed in September 2021, less than month after the PIA became the new, overarching petroleum law of the country.

He says the report of his six months stewardship is in accordance with the promise to be open. “We told Nigerians we will tell them everything”, he contends.

His report lists other initiatives that he says are being implemented by the Commission to increase gas production and utilisation:

Commencement of mandatory conduct of gas well deliverability tests for all gas producers to establish operating limits. This enables the Commission determine production potentials and guides the industry towards its maximum optimum capacity.

Revising the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018 and its associated Guidelines to incorporate methane emissions capture, to ensure the elimination of gas flaring/venting and monetisation of gas resources in the country.

Implementation of the provisions of the PIA 2021 on Gas Flare Elimination and Monetisation, as a means of unlocking more gas availability to the market. Companies are made to commit to a robust plan that eliminates gas flaring by bringing them to the market.

Accelerating the facility development and debottlenecking projects as a tool to incentivise gas production projects from the upstream sector to meet midstream and downstream demands.

Enforcement of approved associated gas development solution in all applicable oil development.

 


Alternatives to Russian Gas in Europe Materialize and Firm Up

By Rystad Energy

Russian gas exports to Europe have declined in the past month, with Norway increasing flows 17% in the past week and LNG imports at a 5-year hire.

Here is Rystad Energy’s regular gas and LNG note from senior analyst Nikoline Bromander:

European LNG imports are soaring, hitting a five-year monthly high in April as supply tightness in the continent continues, averaging 4.45 GWh/d, continuing the strong trend over the past months.

Russian gas exports to Europe have declined in the past month, with Norway increasing flows 17% in the past week and LNG imports at a 5-year hire.

Alternatives to Russian gas in the European market have started to materialize and firm up since Russia’s decision to halt flows to Bulgaria and Poland.

Poland is now cut off from Russian gas as of May 3, 2022, but a new pipeline to Lithuania, opened on May 1, 2022, will provide some supply relief.

Bulgaria too has been cut off by Russia, but announcement of a new floating LNG facility opening in 2023 in nearby Greece will keep them buoyant.

France, Spain, and the UK have accounted for most LNG imports in the past month.

The limited gas pipeline capacity in Europe has resulted in weaker price couplings between different regional benchmark prices.

The UK’s NBP spot benchmark is trading at a large discount to the TTF, priced at €46 at closing yesterday compared to €96 for the TTF spot.

Russian pipeline flows to Europe are stable May 4, 2022, ~250 MCMD, after Flows via the Yamal pipeline from Germany to Poland went to zero May 3, 2022.

Norway has ramped up its gas flows to Europe, currently at ~329 MCMD, up 17% week over week.

Nervousness in the market is driving gas prices (TTF) to EUR 106/MWh (~$35/MMBTU) on May 4, 2022, up nearly 7% day on day, following the new list of sanctions including a phase out from the EU announced earlier.

In addition to concern in the market over EU sanctions, there is also a upside risk related to threats from Russia terminating natural gas exports, as has already happened with Bulgaria and Poland.

If Russia shuts off supplies to more countries unwilling to pay in rubles then prices could skyrocket in the near term.

Most European countries will struggle to replace a sudden drop in supply.

Germany and Italy in particular are likely to suffer severe economic consequences given their heavy reliance on Russian gas imports.

Poland has currently ample natural gas storage, currently at 79%.

Poland has prepared well for this eventuality and has the capacity to ramp up liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and will also benefit from the Poland-Lithuania Gas Connector (GIPL) that started operating on 1 May with a capacity of 2.4 Bcm/year.

Bulgaria, which was 100% reliant on Russian gas imports, will need to quickly take opportunities to diversify its gas imports.

The announcement, on May 3, 2022, that a new floating liquefied natural gas (FSRU) facility near the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, will start operations at the end of 2023, will be welcome news in Sofia.

Asian gas prices have been falling since the week of April 25, 2022,  due to lower demand and lockdowns.

Pricing in the region continues to trail the European market, while still competing with Europe for LNG deliveries.

 


EU Ambassadors Campaign in Egypt and Nigeria, For Increased LNG Supply

European Union Ambassadors have been campaigning in Egypt and Nigeria for increased supply of Liquefied Natural Gas from these countries into Europe.

In Abuja, Samuela Isopi, led a delegation of European diplomats on a courtesy call on the Chief Executive of NNPC, the Nigerian state hydrocarbon firm.

In Cairo, Frans Timmermans held separate talks with each of Egypt’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Petroleum Resources as well as the country’s Prime Minister.

All the engagements, in the last three days, had at their heart, the increase of African natural gas export to Europe.

Isopi, who is the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, told NNPC Group Managing Director Mele Kyari and some of his management team, that as a result of the current geopolitical situation in Europe, the continent was interested in strengthening its cooperation with Nigeria particularly in the area of possible increase in the supplies of Liquiefied Natural Gas LNG).

NNPC holds 49% interest in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd, the largest gas liquefaction facility in Africa.

Isopi is aware. “Nigeria is the fourth gas supplier to Europe. At least 40% of the Nigerian LNG is currently exported to Europe”, she said. “We are not only major clients for Nigeria, we are also major partners in the Oil & Gas Sector because some of the companies that are working with you are from Europe.  So we share the same interest and same objectives.”

In separate meetings in Cairo, EU Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans told Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Foreign Minister and COP27 president Sameh Shoukry, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, and Planning Minister Hala El-Said, that the EU is looking to increase its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Egypt in the short term — and contribute to building a local green hydrogen production facility in the long term. The war in Ukraine has pushed EU countries to accelerate their transition to clean energy and diversify supply, Timmermans said.

“We desperately need your gas”: (above) EU Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans (left), in Cairo talking with Egyptian Foreign Minister and COP27 president Sameh Shoukry. In the featured photo: EU Ambassador to Nigeria and Ecowas Samuela Isopi (left) engages the NNPC CEO, Mele Kyari.

In Abuja, Mele Kyari the GMD/CEO NNPC Ltd, assured the European delegation that the Company would continue to deepen its historical relationship with EU companies in Nigeria in order to add more value to its business, particularly towards increasing gas supply to the global market and enhancing domestic gas utilisation.

Other diplomats from the European delegation on the visit to NNPC were: Ambassador of Portugal, Luis Barros; Ambassador of Spain, Juan Sell; Ambassador of Italy, Stefano De Leo and Deputy Head of Mission (France), Olivier Chatelais.

 

 


Our Archive/EUROPE: Did Africa Waste the Ukraine Crisis?

DATELINE: LAGOS, NIGERIA, JULY 2014

Did African states, through short sighted energy strategies, inclement investment climate, project delays and resource nationalism, shut themselves out of the opportunity created by the Europe-Russia gas supply crisis?

Below we re-publish TOYIN AKINOSHO’s perspective on the EU-Russian gas crisis of 2014, produced from an African lens…

 “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste”, Stanford economist, Paul Romer, declared 10 years ago.

A decade before the current face-off between Russia and Ukraine over the latter’s choice to be part of the European Union’s sphere of influence, European countries had wished they didn’t have to rely so much on Russia for their gas supplies.

EU’s idea of energy diversity has largely meant diversification away from Russia.

Although Europe’s challenges with Russia as an energy supplier are multifaceted, the one issue that consistently meets headline news has been Ukraine’s involvement in part of the supply. Arguments between Russia and Ukraine always threatened to disrupt a significant flow of gas to Europe.  Russia cut supplies to its neighbour in January 2006, causing serious disruptions. The same happened in 2009; this time Ukraine drew on gas destined for customers in Europe and Russia responded by cutting off all supplies.

On a break from meetings at the PEN Congress in Berlin in May 2006, I invited myself to an EU-Russia Conference on gas, sponsored by Gazprom, the Russian gas behemoth. It was holding on the same street in Berlin’s Mitte (centre of the city), where the PEN Congress was taking place. Speaker after speaker from Europe spoke of “security of supply”. Speaker after speaker from Russia insisted on “security of demand”. These were relatively new terms to me, at the time, but I knew clearly that Africa could supply more gas to Europe than it was then doing. Africa could help Europe lessen its reliance on Russia. There were quite a number of projects, already several years on the drawing board as of then, meant to boost the supply of gas from Africa to Europe. One was the 4,128km long, multibillion dollar pipeline, aimed at evacuating Nigerian gas through Niger Republic to Algeria to Europe.

The African continent, with over 400Trillion Cubic feet of natural gas reserves, mostly unexploited as of 2004, had been a possibly strong alternative supplier of gas to Europe. If there was a pan continental economic zone in Africa, the way it has been in Europe for 30 years, with strong commitment to-and implementation of- cross border regional infrastructure projects, we would be a formidable force, able to snatch and eat a lot of what Russia considers her lunch.

As of 2002 Algeria in North Africa accounted for 25% of gas imports into the European Union. Algeria’s neighbours Libya and Egypt were also looking for a stake in the European market. Immediate opportunities for expansion were provided by the liberalization of the gas markets in Spain and Italy. With proposed pipelines to Italy, Spain and France in sight, Algeria planned to increase her overall gas export from 65Billion cubic metres (2.3 Trillion cubic feet) per year to 85Billion cubic metres (3Trillion cubic feet) per year by 2008. A Memorandum of Understanding was in place for a 1,000km Algeria-Sardinia-France gas pipeline, transporting eight (8)Billion cubic metres of gas (282 Billion cubic feet) per year.

Algerian share of European import has since declined to less than 20% as Norway’s production grew in size (now 27%), becoming the second largest gas supplier to Europe after Russia (29%). Algeria’s much hyped plan to boost export to 85Bcm/y never materialized. Indeed, the gas export has declined. Total Algerian gas export in 2013 amounted to 54Bcm ( 1.9 Trillion cubic feet), not because Algeria was busy growing domestic gas demand like Egypt and Nigeria, nor because the country couldn’t find the gas volumes to assign for export like Angola and Equatorial Guinea, but simply that the strategy to grow the production was inadequate.

While Norway and Russia invested furiously in gas production and supply infrastructure, Algeria slacked. Many of the field development projects have been delayed by several years by government’s lack of urgency in approval, the country’s difficulties attracting investment partners, infrastructure gaps, and technical problems. 13 years after the MoU was signed for the Algeria-Sardinia-France pipeline, the project still hasn’t taken off.  Investment decision has been held up by wrangling over long-term supply contracts for gas. The drawn-out process has witnessed reduced demand in gas in those parts of Europe that the project was aimed at, as other suppliers have muscled in. The volumes to be exported to Italy, for example, have been curtailed.

With 56Tcf of gas and a population of just seven million, Libya is in as much a favourable geographic position to supply gas to Europe. This was the third country in the world, after Algeria and the United States (Alaska), to begin exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG). But Libya’s gas export last year was 6Bcm (212Billion cubic feet), according to OPEC Bulletin, a publication of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries. It’s not likely to grow further in the near term. With western sanctions on the country for most of the 90s and early noughties, Libya wasn’t in a comfortable position to draw up, let alone implement a strategy, to be a robust gas supplier to its neighbours across the Mediterranean. The fact that the Western Libyan Gas Project (WLGP), a 50-50 joint venture between the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the Italian operator ENI, came online in October 2004, after sanctions were lifted, is symbolic of what could be possible under a favourable investment climate. By July 2007, 280Billion cubic feet (7.9Billion cubic metres) per year of natural gas was being exported from a processing facility at Melitah, on the Libyan coast, through the Greenstream pipeline to southeastern Sicily, in Italy.

Even though there are other gas export projects on Libya’s drawing board, the country, now in a perennial state of war, is clearly not in a position to take advantage of Europe’s dire need to diversify its sources of natural gas supplies.

Egypt is no longer a candidate for gas export. In the last two years, it has been steadily diverting gas meant for export to domestic use and as it struggles to satiate its citizens’ voracious appetite, the options of LNG and piped gas exports make less business sense.

Nigeria has not had a coherent gas policy from day one, either for domestic gas development or for export. Now that the gas business is steadily opening up, Militant activity and pipeline vandalism, both of them projected as variations of resource nationalism, affect the flow of the resource, even for domestic supply. The Trans Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) was proposed as far back as the 1970s. By 2002, Sonatrach, the Algerian state hydrocarbon company and its Nigerian counterpart NNPC signed an MoU for preparations of the project. In June 2005, the two parties signed a contract with Penspen Limited for a feasibility study which was completed in September 2006. Three years later, energy bureaucrats from the two companies were still talking of proceeding with the MoU signed in 2005. In 2014, nine years after that MoU, the appetite for large scale export projects from Nigeria is considerably reduced. The latest of three stalled Liquefield Natural Gas projects in Nigeria has been on the drawing board for at least five years. So projects that had been lined up to supply Europe, America and South Asia with gas from Africa had become non-starters, long before the opportunity grew this large.

Angela Merkel visited Nigeria and Angola in 2011, in part to assess the possibility of German access to gas in West Africa. Germany wanted a dedicated LNG project that would deliver gas directly from Nigeria to its receiving terminals, but the Nigerian environment, in which two Greenfield LNG projects had suffered setbacks in the four years prior to Ms. Merkel’s visit, wasn’t ready to take advantage of the opportunity. The Europe-Russian gas crisis is an opportunity that Africa had wasted long before it even came up.

Reproduced from our archive. The article was published -exactly as it is-in the July 2014 edition of Africa Oil+Gas Report, the trade journal which marked its 20th anniversary in November 2021.

As they say: The more things change, the more they remain the same…

 

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