Wednesday, July 04, 2012

East Africa's Gas

Massive offshore gas discoveries in East Africa are catapulting the region into a major player in the global energy arena. Off the pristine beaches of Africa’s Indian Ocean coast, multinationals have struck gas -- well upon well upon well. Planned investments worth tens of billions exceed the gross domestic products of some host countries.

East Africa’s coastal region, stretching out to Seychelles holds 441.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s about 50 percent more than in Saudi Arabia. Statoil and Britain’s BG together have discovered around 16 trillion cubic feet in Tanzania.

“The gas discoveries offshore in Mozambique and Tanzania are large and world-class, with potential for more to come, including prospects for an oil leg,”
said Duncan Clarke, CEO of oil consulting company Global Pacific.“These finds will lead to LNG (liquefied natural gas) plants ... and will make the zone akin to the Northwest Shelf in Australia, which can produce 23 billion cubic meters a year"

Houston-based Anadarko in June announced new finds in northern Mozambique which brought its estimated recoverable resources to up to 60 trillion cubic feet. The company has proposed $15 billion in investments to set up LNG facilities. Mozambique's GDP last year was $12 billion. Mozambique expects that within five years, the new industry will account for 13 percent of the economy.

Governments have come under fire for signing opaque contracts for capital-intensive mega-projects that don't create many local jobs. Questions remain how locals will benefit from the multi-billion-dollar industries. While Mozambique is booming, last year its economy created only $400 per person.


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