1. INTRODUCTION to Natural Gas Development in Africa
Natural Gas Development in Africa: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is one of the fastest developing sources of energy in the world. LNG simply put, is a method of transporting and storing natural gas. The gas is liquified by cooling it to -160℃, which reduces the volume 600 times. The gas is transported at these low temperatures and low pressure and is then converted back to gas at a regasification unit. From here, it is distributed to power plants and other consumers .
1.1 What is LNG used for?
A breakdown of the general lifecycle of LNG can be found here. One of the developing areas in the industry is the application of LNG in transportation. However, recent evidence suggests that the benefit might not be as substantial as initially anticipated. One of the most significant concerns is methane leakage which could have a far worse effect on the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas than C02 (measured over 100 years). Despite this, the driving factor of change in the industry is the large taxation benefits in using CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). In some European countries, the use of CNG costs half as much as diesel .
Due to this, various vehicle manufacturers have introduced strategies around large-scale implementations of LNG/CNG, among these are FIAT, SEAT, and IVECO. Several of the other large European vehicle manufacturers, including VW, Audi, and Mercedes, are pursuing the development of electric vehicles instead. However, the use of LNG to generate additional electricity for these electric fleets are at the forefront of development. 
1.2 Power Generation
LNG can be used for power generation in two ways. The first is referred to as LNG cryogenic power generation while the second refers to the use of LNG rather than coal in a steam-powered plant. This is the more traditional method of power generation, and older coal plants can be upgraded to replace the coal with LNG .
Cryogenic power generation involves heating the LNG to 0°C (from -160°C at which it is transported), heating is usually achieved with seawater at the regasification plants through a heat exchanger. During this process, there is a significant expansion of the LNG (about 600 times), which is used for power generation through a Rankine cycle . This energy is not frequently used for power generation, but it is a developing technology.
An excellent example of using LNG in a traditional power plant is this plant in Gibraltar. The plant contains an LNG storage facility which allows for regasification as required to fire the gas engines in the power plant. The heat from the power plant is then used in the regasification process. Most of these power plants make use of gas engines or dual-fuel engines which allows for operation even when gas supplies are in shortage.
1.3 LNG in the world
LNG has been used significantly in both Europe and America, with the demand steadily increasing over the last few years. The main driving force behind this global adoption of LNG is the significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that the use of LNG holds. By adopting LNG, the EU can meet its agreed reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.
It is this same commitment and drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that brings the usage of LNG and the investment in LNG plants into question post-2050 . Since LNG is still carbon-based and carbon emissions are significantly reduced, switching to LNG alone will not enable a zero-carbon emission post-2050. This potential change in demand is shown in Figure 1. Based on this, the expectation is that up to 2040, the demand will stay high in the world with a sharp decline after that. 
Figure 1 also shows a much lower demand is expected in developed countries post-2050, a less significant decline is anticipated for developing countries. This is because developed countries, in general, are larger greenhouse gas emitters and secondly because there is more tolerance for developing countries to reduce their carbon emissions gradually. A combination of the benefits and the drive for LNG development has resulted in this development to spread into Africa, which holds a significant portion of the world’s natural gas reserves.
FIGURE 1 LNG DEMAND FOR DIFFERENT REGIONS 
Worth mentioning when considering the usage of LNG post-2050 is the use of LNG in production of blue hydrogen, which is also expected to form part of the energy mix of the future and is a much cleaner fuel.  Development of this might drive a more sustainable demand for LNG post-2050.
Note: The recent withdrawal from the Paris Agreement by America can have an adverse or positive effect on LNG demand, both immediate as well as post-2050. For this article, this impact is not considered.
2 WHAT IS DRIVING DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL GAS IN AFRICA
22 African countries have proven gas reserves . Nigeria, Libya, Algeria and Egypt contain 91% of Africa’s gas reserves, and Africa itself contains approximately 10% of the global gas reserves . This gas could help tremendously in addressing the severe power shortage that plagues most of Africa. This is one of the fundamental driving forces behind the LNG development in Africa. 
The lower price of LNG compared to oil makes it a more economical alternative fuel source. With the proper infrastructure and policies in place, it has also been shown that the development of a gas power plant has much shorter lead times. This reduces the financial cost of the project, adding additional economic benefits to using LNG instead of oil.
As mentioned previously, LNG has a lower carbon footprint compared to other fossil fuels. Due to the additional pressure added by the Paris Agreement, this has become an even bigger driving force. 
Another factor that is boosting development is the promise LNG holds for economic growth in other sectors such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing of glass, steel, bricks, and cement as shown in Figure 2 below. This has aided in getting investment in Africa which has made a significant difference in the development and assisting Africa in exploring LNG.
FIGURE 2: ECONOMIC IMPACT OF NATURAL GAS. 
The International Energy Association (IEA) also included natural gas as the only fossil fuel that will become a larger role player in the future energy mix. Which has supported the development and sparked more investment in Africa. 
Natural gas is highly flexible, which adds additional benefits in promoting its use instead of oil or other fuels. For example, a gas-fired power station requires less time to start and stop . Also, gas is more efficient than oil which reduces production cost, contributing to the lower cost of gas as opposed to oil. 
This chapter serves to mention but a few of the LNG driving forces in Africa. It illustrates what has caused large scale investments in Africa. This has greatly assisted in establishing LNG as a firm part of Africa’s energy sources.
3 LNG DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES
Despite all the LNG development that is happening across Africa, there are still significant challenges that need to be overcome. Some of which, other LNG producing countries have also faced or are still addressing, while others are unique to the African context.
Challenges faced across the globe is the gas price, which is linked to oil prices. This is mainly because the two products can be used interchangeably for some applications. If the price of one goes up, a consumer can use the other, driving additional demand and increasing the price and vice versa. This makes it more volatile and has a significant impact if oil prices drop.
Another challenge is payment for gas in forex. This makes export countries more susceptible to economic changes and volatile prices. There is also a lack of off-takers and demand uncertainty which poses a high risk for development and securing off-takers. For instance, the Kudu gas field in Namibia was planned to be developed and operated through a joint venture between the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia and Gazprom; however, Gazprom abandoned the project at a late stage due to a lack of board approval. 
Other global challenges include the possibility of a global economic recession which will restrain energy demand and reduce energy investment. A slippage in the global commitment for “greener” energy could have a large impact on LNG development and adds additional uncertainty which hampers investment further. 
More specific to Africa, a fundamental challenge is the lack of infrastructure and the need to develop ports, pipelines and LNG facilities . There are few to none available gas transmission and distribution facilities which are critical to optimising the value of the natural gas. Without the proper infrastructure, the gas cannot be fully utilised . Another infrastructure challenge is the lack of midstream and downstream processing and refining facilities .
There are also significant distances between the gas sources and the major demand centres. This makes it more expensive and requires additional resources for the necessary infrastructure to connect the source and demand centres . Similar challenges are faced in the case of importation and exportation.
Most African countries don’t have the necessary policies and regulations in place, which delays development and discourages investment opportunities. Before the policies and regulations are in place, any development is high risk and makes financial investment decisions more complicated and unsure.
Another serious issue that African countries in particular face is corruption which discourages investment and leads to funding difficulties during the project, especially when it comes to the final investment decision. 
It is, however, encouraging to see that despite these challenges, there is still significant development occurring. Africa is working towards overcoming these challenges to ensure the sustainability and success of future developments.
4 Natural Gas Development in Africa: CURRENT AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT
Despite the challenges mentioned above, Africa has seen an annual increase of 4% in gas production and 6% in consumption . A few of the current developments are:
Rovuma Liquid Natural Gas project: This is a significant development in Mozambique. It constitutes a 15.2 million tonnes per annum LNG export facility and is operated by the Mozambique Rovuma Venture (MRV). MRV is a joint venture by ExxonMobil, Eni, CNPC and smaller shares by Galp, KOGAS and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos.
Eni is responsible for the upstream facilities and transportation to the onshore facilities. ExxonMobil is responsible for the midstream facilities. The project is based on three gas reservoirs of the Mamba complex in Area 4 of the Rovuma Basin which is located approximately 40 km off the Cabo Delgado coast of Northern Mozambique. Successful completion of this project will see Mozambique become one of the biggest exporters of LNG in Africa. Construction is currently underway. 
Mozambique LNG project: This is another project, also being developed in Mozambique, which will have a two-train liquefaction plant with a capacity of 12.9 million tonnes per year. EPCM is currently involved with the feasibility studies for this project. The project is led by a consortium which includes Total, Mitsui & Co, ONGC, ENH, Bharat PetroResources, PTEP and Oil India Ltd with Total leading the project. 
FIGURE 3: POWER PLANTS IN AFRICA BY FUEL AND CAPACITY. 
Tema LNG: There is also a 1.7 million tonnes per annum LNG import facility being developed in Ghana. Tema LNG is the owner of the project and has signed a deal with China Harbour Engineering Company for the construction of the onshore facilities and the floating storage and regasification units. Russian oil giant Rosneft will supply the LNG. 
Tanzania Liquified Natural Gas Project: Tanzania is in the process of developing an LNG liquefaction plant. It is set to have two LNG trains which each has a capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum. The construction of a gas pipeline to supply Uganda was also in consideration. Unfortunately, development has been slow, and governmental complications have plagued the project. Construction is planned to start in 2022 and operation set to start in 2028. 
Gas Revolution Industrial Park (GRIP): In Nigeria, a downstream refinery and petrochemical complex is planned for Ogdigben in the Delta region. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation wholly owns the complex. The complex will also include new chemical plants which will use natural gas from Nigeria as feedstock. The complex will be fed from the nearby gas reserves in Odidi, Okan and Forcados fields as well as supplemented by a gas pipeline network called ELPS. 
Akonikien project: Equatorial Guinea launched the first gas-to-power development. It forms part of the LNG2Africa initiative. The initiatives’ primary objective is to develop small-scale LNG projects to supply gas to countries and regions with limited infrastructure. The plant will have a storage capacity of 14 000 cubic metres with 12 bullet tanks once complete. These tanks are the largest cryogenic bullet tanks in the world with a capacity of 1 228 cubic meters. 
Other projects which are all specifically related to power generation in Africa are:
Soyo combined-cycle natural gas turbine plant introduced 750 MW of newly installed power capacity.
In Cameroon, Victoria Oil and Gas PLC, through its subsidiary Gaz du Cameround (GDC) agreed to supply gas to a proposed new 150 MW gas-fired power station.
In Senegal, BP took a positive final investment decision on the Tortue-Ahmeyim gas development project in 2018. The project involves a floating production storage and offloading unit alongside an LNG facility. 
5 FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The future of LNG in Africa appears to be certain. It is expected that more and more African countries will switch from coal power stations to gas and continue to develop the large gas reserves across the continent. The question, however, is what this means for Africa, especially taking climate change and the Paris Agreement into account. 
Despite Africa having contributed, relatively speaking, negligible emissions over the years it is still one of the continents which are most susceptible to the impact climate change can have on food supplies. The Paris Agreement aims to assist African countries to tap into existing opportunities and to adopt other climate change mitigating technologies to achieve sustainable industrial development with minimal to zero emissions. This is achieved by requiring developed countries to invest in developing countries to assist with these opportunities and gain access to technology. This results in Africa being one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Paris Agreement, with most African countries receiving benefits from more affluent countries. 
As mentioned previously, a driver for using LNG, both in Africa and globally, is the positive impact it has on carbon emissions. LNG produces less carbon dioxide and sulphur emissions than coal or oil and can have a smaller environmental impact. However, the gas still contains carbon and is not in itself a carbon-neutral solution. Also, methane is more dangerous than CO2 if it is released into the atmosphere. Both of these points raise questions around the sustainability of using LNG as a long-term energy solution in the current environment pushing for carbon-neutral solutions. 
LNG can also be used in the production of blue hydrogen, which is expected to form a significant part in the energy mix with the potential to replace coal and other fossil fuels currently used for heating applications in various industries like steel, titanium and platinum. The development of blue hydrogen has been rapidly growing over the last few years, with significant investments in Europe . LNG could potentially become one of the primary feed sources for the production of blue hydrogen provided that the process can be combined with a form of carbon capture or carbon utilisation to enable it to be carbon-neutral. 
There is the argument that similar to hydrogen production from LNG, combining LNG with carbon capture and carbon utilisation could improve its sustainability, making it carbon neutral. This comes at a cost, especially considering other renewable energy sources which are more carbon neutral.
Over 600 million in Africa do not have reliable access to electricity. Many initiatives to address the provision of reliable energy is based on LNG development in Africa, as illustrated above. However, the question remains whether the investment in LNG is the right decision given the significant portions of renewable resources in Africa. It is estimated that over 16 million people can be lifted out of poverty, and large quantities of poor rural communities can have power if sufficient investment is made into solar power generation alone .
LNG is rapidly developing in Africa and globally. It provides a solution to significantly reduce carbon emissions and address the huge energy shortage in Africa. The question however remains, is it sustainable?
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