Anticipating a Shift: Africa’s Natural Gas Landscape and the Dominance of Nigeria, Algeria, and Egypt.
The period spanning 2023 to 2027 is expected to witness a significant shift in the African natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply market. This transition is propelled by the global shift away from fossil fuels. According to insights from the African Energy Chamber’s State of African Energy report for August 2023, Nigeria, Algeria, and Egypt are poised to take the reins of this evolving landscape.
Analyzing the data, the report forecasts Africa’s natural gas supply to reach 25.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2023, marking a modest 1% increase from the preceding year. Looking ahead, long-term supply potential is projected to surge by 7% to 27.4 Bcf/d by 2025, further elevating to nearly 30% at 32.8 Bcf/d by 2035. This substantial increase aligns with global projections.
Across the upcoming decade and beyond, commercial flows from Africa are predicted to remain relatively stable at around 27-28 Bcf/d before gradually tapering off.
Central to this shift are Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria, collectively contributing around 80% of Africa’s natural gas supply. These three nations are expected to be pivotal players, albeit with variations in their short-term outputs. Algeria is anticipated to witness growth from 10 Bcf/d in 2023 to 11 Bcf/d by 2027. Meanwhile, Egypt’s output is projected to remain consistent at 6.25 Bcf/d, and Nigeria’s figures are set to exhibit slight fluctuations within the range of 4.5 Bcf/d to 5.5 Bcf/d.
The report also acknowledges the potential of other African countries to become key participants in the natural gas sector, even though their immediate contributions may be limited. Mega projects in offshore regions such as Senegal-Mauritania, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Ethiopia are on the horizon, but their impact on short-term supply is expected to be minimal.
The report underlines that countries like Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Mauritania, Cameroon, and Congo will continue to sustain LNG exports, facilitated by their respective LNG facilities. Notably, Nigeria and Algeria operate their LNG projects through their national oil companies, NNPC and Sonatrach, respectively.
Future prospects and growth prospects are closely tied to significant projects underway in nations like Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa, and Mauritania-Senegal. Additionally, efforts to monetize natural gas discoveries, reduce emissions from gas flaring, and transition effectively to gas as a bridge fuel are highlighted as priority areas for Africa.
However, the report also highlights the gradual implementation of Nigeria’s “Decade of Gas” initiative, initiated in March 2021, suggesting that progress has been slower than anticipated.