Gas prices in Europe have reached record levels as the conflict continues in Ukraine. The possibility of Russian President Putin shutting down the gas supply considered part of Putin’s leverage against the West in his obsession with Ukraine is worrying.
In this case, Europe will need new contingency supply networks. Although Qatar is a possibility, the bloc said it could not provide a considerable amount of replacement gas to Europe if sanctions against Russia were to be imposed on the gas exporter countries forum in Qatar.
Tanzania, which has the sixth-largest gas reserves in Africa, has an estimated 57 trillion cubic feet (1.6 billion cubic meters) of gas reserves.
As a rising actor in Africa, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be an opportunity for gas sales, as struggled to secure a new energy market outside Africa. “We are working with companies from Europe. Whether Africa, Europe or America, we are looking for markets,” said Hassan.
Africa’s largest gas producer Nigeria wants to build a pipeline, trans-Sahara pipeline, that is going to take Nigerian gas to Algeria, then to Europe.
In 2020, Muhammadu Buhari’s administration announced “The Decade of Gas”, a Nigerian initiative to prioritize the gas industry and take advantage of a global transition to cleaner fuels.
As part of that step, the 2.5 billion dollar Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Natural Gas Pipeline, 614 km long, has commenced construction. Most of the funding comes from Chinese banks as loans.
Unlike in North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa is struggling with the lack of infrastructure facilities.
Having a proven gas reserve of 13,5 trillion cubic feet (382 billion cubic meters), Angola has suffered a sharp decline in oil and gas production, with a combination of technical and operational problems over the past five years.
In addition to lack of infrastructure, the lack of territories to become a safe zone has a negative impact on investments to be made.
Mozambique has a proven natural gas reserve of approximately 100 trillion cubic feet (2,8 trillion cubic meters), which accounts for about 1 percent of the world’s total reserves. Yet, the ongoing armed uprising in the northern Mozambique province of Cabo Delgado, a gas-rich area on the border with Tanzania, blocked activities in a planned 50 billion dollar project.
The dynamics of the continent will determine the clarity of Africa’s position as the new gas supplier. Investments focused on securitization, stability, and infrastructure development will be decisive.