NLNG’s Mshelbila canvasses greater role for African gas


Sopuruchi Onwuka

Petroleum plays in Africa should be allowed to take greater role in meeting the global demand for natural gas as the energy industry transitions from oil based fuels to cleaner and greener energy soures.

Managing Director of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, Mr Phillip Mshelbila, declared at the 2023 Gastech Exhibition and Conference in Singapore that Africa should earn a deserved role in increasing supply resilience in the energy transition period.

The Oracle Today reports that natural gas remains at the center of the global movement for energy transition. And the NLNG is expanding its plants for processing Nigeria’s natural for supply to the international energy markets.

The company is currently driving its liquefaction plant capacity expansion by 8.0 million metric ton per annum (mtpa) from prevailing 22. Mtpa to 30 mtpa. Numerous Greenfield liquefaction projects are also running in the continent to boost global market position of the continent in meeting global gas supplies in the medium to long term.

Dr. Mshelbila declared at Gastch that natural gas will dominate Africa’s energy mix in meeting the continent’s rising demand from rapid population growth and economic expansion. He added that gas would take a great role in realizing the continent’s aspiration of providing affordable access to clean energy and supply security for industrialization.

In discussing Africa’s role in increasing supply resilience in the energy transition context at Gastech, Dr. Mshelbila stated that African gas could enhance global energy security by increasing gas production, ensuring a steady supply source despite rising domestic consumption, and the growth of floating LNG, facilitating the rapid delivery of gas products to the market.

He stressed the necessity of adopting a multi-dimensional approach to the energy transition, considering Africa’s specific context and evolving needs. Dr. Mshelbila pointed out that the continent is already capitalising on opportunities in the energy transition, utilising gas as an evolutionary energy source that offers a cleaner alternative to traditional biomass and coal. He highlighted that transitioning from polluting sources to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) can reduce emissions by up to 48%. He cited Nigeria as an example, where the government actively promotes CNG usage in the transportation sector to expand gas utilisation and drive progress across various industries.

Dr. Mshelbila also noted that Africa is maximising opportunities in the growing LNG market, increasing its production capacity to substantially contribute to global supply. He added that Africa is emerging as a critical global gas supply source, with production expected to double, solidifying the continent’s role in global energy security.

“The largest gas markets in Africa remain Algeria and Nigeria, which account for at least 55% of the continent’s gas reserves. However, exciting new gas markets are emerging across the continent, especially in LNG developments in Mozambique, Senegal, the Congo, and Tanzania,” he stated.

Furthermore, Dr. Mshelbila stated that efforts are underway to develop inter-regional gas supply pipelines to facilitate the movement of gas resources from West Africa to North Africa and beyond, promoting intercontinental trade.

Regarding the energy transition, he highlighted Africa’s progress in the field of hydrogen. He said that when produced using Africa’s abundant gas resources in conjunction with renewables, hydrogen can position the continent as a major hydrogen exporter in the near future.

In conclusion, Dr. Mshelbila emphasised that Africa is taking a proactive, region-specific approach that leverages its unique strengths and resources, offering promise for a sustainable energy future and a crucial role in the global energy transition.

The Gastech Exhibition and Conference is a significant platform for professionals in the natural gas, LNG, hydrogen, low-carbon solutions, and climate technologies industries to discuss the latest developments in the sector. NLNG actively participated in strategic leadership sessions and the exhibition.

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