With record-breaking US gas production this year, and the promotion of gas as a “cleaner, cheaper” energy source a continued priority for the current White House, the US Department of Energy is now looking towards Africa to develop opportunities in the exploration, production and monetization of LNG. In the words of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, “increased amounts of US LNG on the world market benefit the American economy, American workers, and consumers and help make the air cleaner around the globe.”
Appetite for imported gas is growing steadily across the African continent. Just recently, South Africa announced plans to open its first LNG import terminal in 2024. Meanwhile, US gas production is skyrocketing. Currently at 6 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day, production is forecast to grow to 10 bcf by the end of 2020. This confluence of circumstance makes Africa a common-sense partner for the US as it sets out to cement its position as an Energy superpower.
As part of this mission, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Steven Winberg, will join 22 Pan-African ministers at the Africa Oil Week summit in Cape Town this November. He will use the event to share US energy policy points with the continent and outline a vision for deeper US commitment to Africa in the oil, gas and power sectors. This vision looks set to encompass increased two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa, with the US making potential capital available on joint-ventures and to part-finance LNG infrastructure for energy-lacking African countries.
The announcement of Secretary Winberg’s attendance to the summit comes alongside several major US private-sector investments into the African energy sector. ExxonMobil are making progress in Mozambique with their Rovuma LNG project in deepwater Area 4 block which contains more than 85 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Particularly notable though is Anadarko’s recent announcement of its Final Investment Decision (FID) to construct a $20 billion gas liquefaction and export terminal in Mozambique, the largest single LNG project approved in Africa. A representative from ExxonMobil will be covering the Rovuma LNG project in Mozambique at Africa Oil Week and there will be strong presence from ENH and INP at the conference. Africa Oil Week is putting a renewed focus on the place of gas, with 5 dedicated sessions dedicated solely to LNG in the event programme.