The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, said Africa must have natural gas to complement its renewable energy.
He made the statement during an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing COP 27 event in Egypt.
According to him, natural gas is necessary to ensure that energy needs are adequately met. Dr Adesina said:
“Africa must have natural gas to complement its renewable energy. Even if Africa were to triple its production of natural gas from current levels, its contribution to global emissions would only rise by 0.67%.
“Natural gas is needed to balance out the electricity supply given the intermittent nature of renewables. We must recognize the special nature of Africa. Africa has the highest level of energy poverty in the world.
“My interest is how Africa uses natural gas as part of its energy mix to provide electricity for 600 million people today that don’t have access to electricity.”
He added that Africa should not be penalized for using gas to complement its renewable energy.
African countries can harness their natural gas resources for domestic purposes as well as meet energy demands in the European Union, which faces a shortage following the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war which began in Q1/2022.
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AFC supports approach: The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) recently released a whitepaper on the roadmap to Africa’s cop titled A pragmatic Path to Net Zero. According to the white paper, Africa must exploit its abundant reserves of natural gas as an essential transitional source of energy to support industrialization.
Interestingly, the European Commission backs this idea, having recently classified natural gas as a form of green energy and a vital transition fuel in the path towards decarbonization.
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The AFC whitepaper added that it is possible to industrialise with natural gas without substantial contributions to global carbon emissions. And seeing as Africa needs industrialisation to guarantee job creation and economic growth, African nations can invest further in renewable sources to make the final transition.
EU’s rush for African gas: According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) natural gas market report for Q4/2022, several European Union (EU) based companies have secured additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply through tenders and short-term LNG contracts.
In addition to the record inflow of LNG, EU member states have started to diversify their imports from non-Russian pipeline suppliers. The European Union adopted a 15% voluntary reduction target for its gas demand between 1 August 2022 and 31 March 2023, compared with its five-year average.
For the record: The October 2022 World Oil Outlook from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says that natural gas will be the second-largest fuel in the global energy mix by 2030. According to the outlook, gas demand is projected to increase by 19.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (mboe/d) to 56.3 mboe/d in 2045, supported by demand in all sectors. The outlook also says that natural gas is expected to replace coal and traditional biomass use in coming years and remain a long-term fuel of choice.