Africa’s LNG import prospects in an era of high volatility and uncertainties
Africa to date has primarily been a natural gas exporting continent. It has been a source of natural gas supplies to the rest of the world for almost sixty years. But African LNG exporting sources are limited to a few subregions of Africa. Most African countries are far from being endowed with large proven natural gas reserves or could easily switch to the consumption of natural gas. In fact, some of these countries have already been importing or are planning to import gas. Interestingly all new gas import plans are focused on LNG imports rather than imports through existing cross-border gas pipelines or new intra-regional gas pipeline projects.
During the last decade and until recently, over a dozen new LNG import projects were planned and proposed in Africa. However, in an era of new challenging international market conditions – persistent high gas hub price volatility and uncertainties emerging from the unavoidable energy transition towards a decarbonized world – can these same drivers continue to stimulate, slowdown or stop altogether the development of new LNG import markets in Africa? This paper explores some of the main aspects of this fundamental question of energy supply in developing economies, such as Africa’s, by focusing on the impact of these key drivers on potential African LNG imports and the lessons that could be learned for other developing countries.