Times of Middle East

Can Africa substitute Russia because the EU’s major supply of gasoline?

If such a move have been simple, it might have been tried a very long time in the past.

In 2021, Russia provided about 45% of the European Union’s pure gasoline, pumping round 155 billion cubic meters (BCM) of it by means of a number of pipelines. The EU is now apparently contemplating plans to section out Russian gasoline, and experiences have appeared in current weeks that various African international locations – equivalent to Nigeria, Senegal and Angola – are being thought-about because the substitute supply.

There is much more hype round African gasoline than American or Qatari LNG, which appear to be extra apparent substitutes. Simply as a result of offers with these states don’t require a lot negotiating, whereas African gasoline stays a completely different matter solely. 

Italian authorities delegations have visited Algeria, Angola, Egypt and the Republic of the Congo since February. So far, a lot of the visits and negotiations have ended with solely declarations and letters of intent, and main power assume tanks are expressing a sure skepticism in regards to the prospects for gasoline provides from Africa to the EUAfrican gasoline exporters are divisible into two classes: these with spare export capacities (Algeria, Egypt) however missing sufficient provides of their very own gasoline.

How a lot gasoline will African exporters be capable to provide to the EU, and when?

The EU imports gasoline by way of pipelines from Algeria and Libya, in addition to getting liquefied pure gasoline (LNG) from Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria. The whole capability of Africa’s gasoline export infrastructure (each pipelines and LNG vegetation) is about 170 billion cubic meters (bcm) every year. At the identical time, 125 billion of this capability is beneath the management of Algeria, the place annual gasoline exports are step by step reducing to a degree between 40 and 50 bcm. In whole, export capability utilization in Africa is about 60% for LNG vegetation and 40% for pipelines.

While in Algeria the correct to export gasoline is reserved for state-owned Sonatrach, within the different African international locations the export infrastructure is managed by Western oil majors, primarily representing the patrons’ facet, particularly Eni, Shell, TotalEnergies and others. Consequently, the power of African governments to affect the volumes and instructions of exports is open to query. 

In 2021, African nations provided 16.6 million tons (MT) of LNG (approximately equal to 23 bcm) to the international locations of the EU, one other 7 MT was delivered to the UK and Turkey, 16.7 MT to Asia, and 0.5 MT to Latin America. Despite post-pandemic financial development and the dynamic restoration of gasoline demand, Africa was solely capable of enhance LNG exports by 2 MT in comparison with the disaster yr of 2020. Pipeline exports to Spain and Italy from Algeria and Libya totaled 35 bcm. Thus, Africa exported round 68 bcm to the EU in 2021.

Can Africa enhance exports to the EU proper now?

Yes, it might. However, it might be in small volumes and contain the switch of spot LNG cargoes from Asia to the EU. In whole, such a maneuver might present about 10 bcm every year. Still, the EU must supply higher costs than patrons in Asia, the UK (additionally planning to desert Russian gasoline), and Turkey – one of many largest importers within the Mediterranean area.

African gasoline exporters are divisible into two classes: these with spare export capacities (Algeria, Egypt) however missing sufficient provides of their very own gasoline; and people with gasoline however with out the capability to correctly export it (Nigeria, Mauritania/Senegal, and Mozambique). Algeria and Egypt are taking steps to extend manufacturing, however most of this development is spent assembly the wants of their home markets (electrical energy era, industries, fertilizer manufacturing); liquefaction services are being in-built Mauritania, Senegal, Mozambique and Nigeria, and it’s from these international locations that we are able to count on a rise of exports within the medium time period.

Investment choices have already been taken to construct new export services in Nigeria, Mozambique, and on the border of Senegal and Mauritania. In whole, they are going to add as much as 14 MTPA of LNG (approximately 19.Three bcm) by 2025. The seventh practice of the Nigeria LNG plant is predicted to provide as much as eight MTPA, the Great Tortue venture on the border of Mauritania and Senegal will provide 2.5 MTPA, and Coral South in Mozambique will yield 3.four MTPA. Investment choices on these initiatives have been made in 2017-2019, lengthy earlier than the present stage of the disaster in Ukraine.

But this power will not be for the EU solely. Nigeria historically sells 50% of its LNG to the Asia-Pacific area, whereas the venture in Mozambique can also be concentrating on markets in India, China and Japan. Finally, demand for LNG is step by step rising in Africa itself (South Africa, and so on.), so a number of the gasoline might even stay contained in the continent.

Africa’s strategic position

If Russian provides might have been deserted in favor of African equivalents, the EU would have achieved it way back. This activity has been prioritized since 2008, when then-EU Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs visited Nigeria to debate the Trans-Saharan route, and Brussels has been striving to extend provides, from this supply, with all its would possibly, however with out a lot success. It is almost inconceivable to squeeze extra gasoline out of Africa. Thus the principle beneficiary of the EU’s refusal of the Russian product would be the United States, alongside with Qatar (the place the principle producer is ExxonMobil). Israel, Azerbaijan and Iran have an excellent probability of getting a share of the pie as nicely.

At the identical time, Africa has been and stays an essential supply of power for the EU. Given the continuing disaster, the stress on its international locations to export extra gasoline on the expense of their home markets will intensify, and Western majors leaving Russia will definitely flip to Africa seeking a useful resource base.

The present market scenario might revive initiatives beforehand thought-about unviable, together with the development of pipelines throughout the Sahara from Nigeria to Algeria, the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, or as many as three new initiatives for the export of LNG from the East African coast of Mozambique, Tanzania, or Djibouti.

On the opposite hand, within the subsequent decade, gasoline will play a key position within the growth of the power sector and industries (manufacturing of fertilizers, cement, polypropylene, and so on.) in lots of African international locations. The major producing states, primarily Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria, must select between assembly rising home demand and the temptation to extend exports.

The selection of priorities between exports and home consumption (extra international foreign money earnings or a bigger obtainable provide for the power sector and industries) will decide Africa’s position in world power markets over the subsequent 20 years. The distribution of gasoline between home consumption and export would rely, amongst different elements, on authorities choices, typically made beneath stress from operators, patrons and donor international locations.

Regulators and state-owned firms in international locations like Mozambique and Nigeria typically make their choices on the suggestions of international consultants, and such decisions don’t all the time correspond with the pursuits of host international locations. Algeria and Egypt have moved a lot additional within the growth of their home markets and provides them precedence, however the identical international consultants, performing in shut alliance with European and multinational companies, are placing huge stress on them to desert subsidies, liberalize their markets, and divide state monopolies.

But the EU nonetheless has a chance. A devastating financial disaster, with a pointy decline in electrical energy demand and manufacturing in Algeria or Egypt would unlock extra volumes of gasoline for export (as as soon as occurred with Soviet gasoline). But such crises could be tragedies, and luckily are nonetheless solely a hypothetical danger.

Russia might have performed a task in supporting and growing African gasoline markets. While the workplace of Gazprom was working in Nigeria, the nation avoided approving (ruinous) choices on export initiatives, relying on cooperation with Russians and others to develop the home market. However, no funding choices have been taken, and Nigeria went again to its outdated methods: constructing new liquefaction services. Gazprom, Rosneft, LUKOIL sporadically take part in E&P initiatives throughout Africa, truly enjoying together with their very own strategic adversaries. If they flip from these initiatives to develop African home markets, each Russia and Africa will profit, however there may be not a lot proof of that but.


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