Europe should look to LNG opportunities in Lusophone AfricaAugust 24, 2022
On March 8, 2022, the European Union presented the REPowerEU programme, stressing that Europe’s natural gas supply is still heavily dependent on the Russian Federation. One of the key points addressed is the need to diversify the EU’s natural gas supply by increasing non-Russian gas imports by 50 bcm [1.77 tcf]. In particular, sub-Saharan Africa is painted as a potential source of interest, directly citing Angola as a market with “untapped LNG potential.”
For those of us involved in advising clients in Angola, it is no news that the European search for gas could prove to be a great opportunity for the Angolan gas market. In the first quarter of this year Angola exported 952,036 metric tonnes of natural gas to their main importers, of which the UK, France and Belgium were among the top importers. Altogether, Angola exported 1.19 million metric tonnes worth USD 1.7 billion, benefiting significantly from price increases in the international market. In 2021 alone, tax revenue collected by the Angolan government on LNG is reported to have reached USD 900 million. This is no small fish. With the eighth largest reserves – 13.5 tcf [382 tcm] – in sub-Saharan Africa, Angola has looked to scale up its LNG project for exports to the European market.
With this in mind, Angola has equally been investing in the development of its own infrastructures to improve local and regional electricity demand. It is eyeing the development of its pipeline infrastructure, targeting a USD 5-billion deal with the government of Zambia for the construction of an oil pipeline between the two nations, thus strengthening regional petroleum delivery and trade. Furthermore, it has looked to develop port infrastructures in order to improve oil and gas trade regionally and throughout the African continent. The major operators in the country have also repositioned and restructured with a number of M&As that will shape LNG upstream in the next few years.
Mozambique may capitalise on the lessons learned from Angola. With far greater proven reserves of 100 tcf [2.83 tcm] of natural gas, the second largest in sub-Saharan Africa, and a dominance in deepwater recoverable gas reserves (accounting for 52% for all of sub-Saharan Africa), Mozambique’s opportunity for economic development is tremendous. However, while the Angolan case provides great insight into what lies ahead for Mozambique, the country’s success is dependent on how efficiently (and quickly) it can turn the project into development opportunities and on resolving the ongoing conflict crisis in Cabo Delgado.
Mozambique stands ready to transform itself into an energy hub, and perhaps being in a position to answer all of Europe’s increased demand calls. The first LNG shipment sponsored by the Coral Sul FLNG is expected to reach the market as early as the next couple of weeks. This will no doubt be an historical landmark for the LNG production in the country, and surely the first of many. It will also mean the initial direct earnings for the State, which should total roughly USD 35 million this year. Merely a drop in the ocean of the total expected State tax revenue of USD 19 billion to be generated by the Coral Sul FLNG but still good news for the Mozambican State budget.
Mozambique also ought to look at the steps taken by their Lusophone compatriots to develop national infrastructures to improve domestic and regional supply while fulfilling European demand. Expanding regional gas trade will be pivotal in kick-starting socioeconomic growth and energy access, and Mozambique finds itself in a great position to become the regional energy provider for southern Africa. The opportunity for Mozambique to become one of the top 10 global LNG exporters is within reach.
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