Africa, gas and the future


Sulphur emissions

Several weeks before Fukushima, the BP team pointed out that when gas is used to generate power, as it is in Nigeria and right across Africa's North, the result is half the CO2 emissions of conventional coal-fuelled generation (as in SA), and near-zero sulphur emissions too. BP expects the rising price of carbon to be a key consideration when new facilities are planned. So globally the gas share in fossil fuel generation will advance from 42 per cent last year to almost two-thirds in 2030. Nevertheless the growth in renewables such as wind (Europe) and solar (here in Africa) means that gas's share in total generation will increase modestly, from 20 to only 24 per cent.

So the key finding in this rare set of predictions from any energy company is that gas is “the fastest growing fossil fuel in power generation and grows its share in generation from fossil fuels from 30 per cent today to 37 per cent.

“Its share in total electricity generation increases from 20.5 per cent to 22 per cent”.

The next step

A great deal is said about unconventional gas, such as the shales that have completely transformed the North American gas market. Africa's minor role in this new business is not commented on, but this is certain to be a major talking point at future gas get-togethers such as the GEGF/Gas Exporting Countries' ministerial in Egypt in June. The group's first-ever public Forum will be held in Qatar on 11 November.

“Unconventionals remain to be appraised in detail globally, but could add another 30 years of supply,” says BP. “Production at current levels from proved reserves will last only 63 years.”

Finally the outlook report reiterates a view that we have long held, that export trade in LNG, as generated by countries such as Algeria and Nigeria, is now growing twice as fast as global gas production. This is expected to continue despite the recent gas glut and resulting turnabout in US business. Through 2030 as much as 41 per cent of supply will be coming from Africa.







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