Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe urged investors to invest in and help develop South Africa’s gas industry.
Addressing delegates on the opening day of Africa Oil Week in Cape Town earlier this month, Mantashe referred to South Africa’s recently approved Integrated Resource Plan 2019 and flagged its provision for gas-to-power (GTP) projects from 2024.
“We intend to establish the first liquified natural gas hub in the Coega Industrial Development Zone, in the Eastern Cape,” he said.
Mantashe adds that the framework for supporting the GTP programme will be announced by his department in the near term, and would be linked to an amendment to the Gas Act of 2001, which will be tabled in Cabinet soon.
In terms of upstream, Mantashe noted that work is under way on a Petroleum Resources Development Bill, which will also be presented to Cabinet soon.
“GTP technologies will provide the flexibility required to complement intermittent renewable energy and meet demand during peaking hours.
“While in the short term, the opportunity is there to pursue gas import options, local and regional gas resources will allow for scaling up within manageable risk levels,” he stated.
Mantashe made specific mention of major gas discoveries in Mozambique and Tanzania, noting that, the department remains ready to contribute to the development of these recent finds.
Further, indigenous gas such as coalbed methane and, ultimately, recoverable shale- and coastal gas are options that are being considered.
Referring to the hydrocarbon discovery by petroleum refining company Total and partners off South Africa’s south-eastern coast earlier this year, he commented: “We are confident that this find will spur further interest in the upstream potential of South Africa.”
In addition, Africa remains the most energy-deficient continent globally with more than 500-million Africans lacking access to modern forms of energy and afflicted with indoor pollution and environmental degradation, Mantashe stated.
“Agenda 2063 of the African Union enjoins us to develop Africa’s energy infrastructure, where all our countries are connected.”
He stated that the continent’s oil and gas reserves must be harnessed to deliver energy services to all African households and businesses. “Our gas must power plants and other petrochemicals facilities in our countries as it reaches for export markets. “This will ensure that we do not always import beneficiated hydrocarbons,” he concluded.