Qatar and South Africa are working aggressively to expand energy cooperation, which includes developing infrastructure and an LNG terminal in Africa’s second-largest economy to receive Qatari gas, according to Faizel Moosa, Ambassador of South Africa to Qatar.
Early this year, Qatar Petroleum (QP) and its partners, led by TOTAL, announced a significant gas condensate discovery 175km off the coast of Mossel Bay, South Africa. This is the first discovery in QP’s international exploration ventures.
The Block 11B/12B covers an area of 19,000 square kilometers. It is operated by Total with a 45 percent working interest, alongside QP (25 percent), CNR International (20 percent) and Main Street (10 percent).
“South Africa is currently reevaluating its energy requirements. The energy ministers of sub-Saharan Africa assembled and decided that the energy needs of the southern part of the continent need to be addressed through a collective strategy, which will require the development of needful infrastructure, including an LNG terminal” Ambassador Moosa told The Peninsula recently.
He added: “South Africa, in terms of its energy-mix, has decided to increase the share of gas as the country is taking the environmental issues very seriously.” South Africa is the continent’s most industrialized country and second-largest economy with a total GDP of $371bn (nominal, 2019 estimate), ($813bn, PPP, 2019 estimate). The country, which is a regional hub of the manufacturing and services sector, has embarked extensively in the renewables, especially wind and solar energy, to reduce its carbon emissions.
“The next step is boosting the consumption of gas and replacing coal. We do have a lot of coal reserves but due to growing environmental concerns, we are minimizing the use of coal. We are working to develop needful infrastructure to receive and distribute gas across the country and beyond. Therefore, we would need Qatar’s expertise, investment, and other support, and want it to come on board,” said the envoy.
Currently, South Africa’s domestic gas usage accounts for only 3 percent of the country’s energy mix and aims to boost its share to more than 12 percent.
“Government officials from both sides are also working to develop a gas receiving terminal in South Africa but saying anything more about it would be premature,” said the ambassador without providing further details about the proposed project.
However, he reiterated that extensive negotiations are going on between the two countries at government level, and South Africa is also looking forward to importing LNG from Qatar not only for domestic consumption but also to be supplied to other neighboring countries in the future.
Currently, South Africa is heavily dependent on imports to meet its energy requirements. Its oil and other petroleum products are mainly sourced from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some other countries. Some of the country’s major imports from Qatar include Mineral fuels, petroleum oils, and petroleum products, fertilizers, chemicals, and petrochemicals.