Africa is an exciting frontier in the global natural gas sector. The continent holds 7.1 percent of proven global gas reserves and is expected to contribute nearly 10 percent of global production growth through to 2024.
On the demand side, Africa’s large, urbanized and industrialized societies of the future will require reliable and sustainable power generation. With greenfield investments in Nigeria, Egypt, Mozambique and elsewhere reaching nearly $103 billion this year, it is clear that liquefaction is viewed as the most profitable strategy for realizing Africa’s gas potential.
Nigeria accounts for over 50 percent of current LNG production capacity on the continent. With October 2019 seeing a final investment decision on the $12 billion expansion of the country’s liquefaction plant at Bonny Island in Rivers State.
The Train 7 expansion project would increase Nigerian LNG production capacity by 35 percent, from 22 million tons per annum to 30 million. Current indications point to a positive verdict. The twenty-year-old facility is owned and operated by a consortium which includes NNPC, Shell, Total and Eni.
In North Africa, Egypt has successfully re-established itself as an important investment destination following the downturn in the gas sector in 2014. In the first half of 2019, the behemoth Zohr offshore gas field produced 11.3 billion cubic meters – 3.6 times more than it did in 1H2018. The success is set to continue with reports earlier this year of a new Eni discovery in the Nour North Sinai Concession. Evaluation is ongoing but there are hopes that the new field could rival the Zohr, which would open significant opportunities for investment in new liquification plants. In February, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Corporation awarded five new gas exploration concessions to Shell, ExxonMobil, Petronas, DEA and Eni in which it expects to see 20 wells drilled.