Increased production helps to boost export potential
But with local demand rising, how long can exports continue?
- Demand: Egypt drives a strong increase
- Production: Focussed on North Africa and Nigeria
Highest ever production
In 2017, Africa produced 225 billion cubic metres of gas – the region’s all-time high. The biggest producer, responsible for 41% of Africa’s output, was Algeria. Egypt and Nigeria are Africa’s nextlargest producers, with each accounting for 20% of the region’s total.
However, while Algeria was able to export more than half of the 91 billion cubic metres it produced, Egypt needed all of its 49 billion cubic metres to meet domestic demand.
A continent increasingly using gas
Elsewhere in Africa, demand is also rising. Just as production levels are unsurpassed, so are demand figures. In 2017, the region needed 142 billion cubic metres of natural gas to satisfy the demands of consumers and industry. The level of demand has risen by 50% in the past decade.
Most of this demand is centred in North Africa. Egypt accounts for 40% of Africa’s gas requirements, followed by Algeria with 27%. The other North African nations collectively account for another 10% of overall regional demand.
What remains and where
Fortunately for future demand, the resources are there to meet a substantial portion of projected needs. Africa holds 7.1% of the world’s gas reserves.
Nigeria has the largest reserves in Africa, accounting for 38% of the total. Algeria is a close second with 32%. Egypt holds 13% and Libya is fourth with 10% of African gas reserves.
Future of gas in Africa
Significant changes are ahead when it comes to the pattern of global energy supply and demand – and Africa is no exception. BP’s Energy Outlook shows that demand for energy in Africa is well ahead of the world average – forecast to grow by 3.5% each year over the next two decades.
Alongside that comes a rapid rise in energy production – we forecast that energy production in Africa is likely to grow by around 60% by 2040, which is almost twice the global rate. In terms of gas, Africa could add a further 22bcf/d to the global supply over the next two decades.
BP’s Tortue project, located on the maritime border between Mauritania and Senegal, will play a role in delivering that supply through an innovative floating LNG concept designed to support both domestic energy and LNG export. And the region is still seeing new discoveries – for example 2017’s Yakaar gas discovery which was the largest in the industry for that year.
At BP we see gas as an important transition and destination fuel which can bring real benefits to these countries in terms of trade balance, reduced emissions, lower cost domestic energy, improved energy access and fiscal revenues for reinvestment in society.
It’s a privilege to be working in West Africa and seeing first-hand the exciting potential the region represents both to the industry and our national partners.
Emma Delaney, Regional President, BP West Africa