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AEC, Gazprom highlight gas role in fostering economic development

Gaslink as pioneer

With Africa boasting a significant 620 trillion cubic feet (tcf) gas reserves, the role of gas to transform the continent’s energy sector cannot be understated, according to the African Energy Chamber (AEC) and Russia’s Gazprom.

Both organisations highlighted the economic development and the pivotal role of gas on a global scale at the international gas roundtable event held in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday, June 22, 2023.

Under the theme ‘The Benefits of Natural Gas for the Population and the Economy,’ the one-day event will feature engaging roundtable discussions and thought-provoking presentations from experts at Gazprom, as well as representatives from various African countries.

“We are thrilled to host this event in partnership with Gazprom, as it presents a remarkable opportunity for Africa to harness the transformative power of natural gas,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.

“The importance of gas in driving economic development cannot be overstated. By leveraging the expertise of Gazprom and tapping into the collective wisdom of industry leaders, government officials, and experts, we can pave the way for a sustainable energy future that propels Africa’s growth and prosperity,” he said.

According to the AEC boss, the aim is to facilitate knowledge exchange, foster collaboration, and promote the sustainable development of gas resources across the African continent for the benefit of local economies.

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““Six hundred million people across Africa do not have access to electricity, 900 million do not have access to clean cooking technologies. For Gazprom, as a global energy company, to pick Africa and partner with the chamber to drive this message, thinking of solutions and ideas at a time when we are faced with people telling us to halt gas production, this could not come at a better time,” Ayuk said.

Several African nations have become significant gas producers, such as Algeria which boasts abundant natural gas reserves and has established itself as a gas exporter; and Nigeria who has produced gas to diversify its energy mix along with its production of oil.

Meanwhile, Mozambique has also emerged as a notable key player in the gas industry with significant offshore discoveries and its recent achievement of its Coral Sul’s first shipment of liquefied natural gas to Croatia. By harnessing their gas resources, African countries are not only bolstering their energy security but also diversifying their economies and attracting investments in infrastructure, power generation, and industrial sectors.

Dmitry Khandoga, Gazprom’s Head of Department, talked on how Russia plans on expanding cooperation with Africa, stating that Gazprom’s expertise stands to play an important part in supporting the development and maximisation of gas in Africa.

“We see that Africa is well positioned for future growth but at the same time, there are a number of key issues that need to be addressed such as food security and energy security.

“By 2040, the number of cities in Africa with a population of more than five million people will more than double…you cannot rely on traditional fuels such as wood if you are moving to cities.

“If you are developing the digital economy, you need to make sure that energy is reliable and secure. Gazprom has vast experience in all spheres of the gas value production chain,” he said.

Similar to Ayuk’s sentiments, Khandoga believes that, “Gas is not a transition fuel, it is a destination fuel. We are confident that the technological experience of Gazprom will be in very much demand by our African counterparts.”