The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is developing a Regional Gas Master Plan aimed at harnessing economic opportunities from the vast natural gas deposits that have recently been discovered in the region.
The development of the Regional Gas Master Plan follows the directive by the 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government in August 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. At that summit the Sadc Secretariat was tasked to develop the Regional Gas Master Plan and to ensure inclusion and promotion of natural gas into the regional energy mix and to further facilitate an increase in universal access to energy as well as industrial development.
On 21 August 2020, the Sadc Secretariat in collaboration with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the Nepad Business Foundation (NBF), the Sadc Business Council and the Sadc Development Finance Resource Centre (DFRC), convened a webinar to present key outcomes and recommendations of the report on Regional Gas Master Plan Phase 1 (RGMP).
In a statement following the meeting, Sadc said the Regional Gas Master Plan Phase 1 was expected to provide a strategic framework and blueprint to take advantage of available opportunities due to the discovery of commercially exploitable quantities of gas in the Sadc region. The Phase 1 study was developed to map the natural gas supply profile and associated costs to get the gas to targeted markets within Sadc and elsewhere on the continent and beyond.
According to the Sadc Secretariat, the study also made assessment of the markets within Sadc and other regional economic communities as well as identifying industries, potential off-takers, likely volumes and offtake profiles. It also identifies potential key actors and stakeholders that must be involved, directly or indirectly, through the different stages of development of the RGMP.
The report further took into cognisance the trends and outlook of the natural gas industry globally and how these interact or could impact on the RGMP and compiled a database of relevant reports and studies about natural gas resources in the region and provided an assessment of the natural gas value chains and networks within the Sadc region.
In her remarks, director of infrastructure at Sadc Secretariat, Ms Mapolao Rosemary Mokoena, outlined the historical background of the study and also underscored how energy plays a critical role in the regional economy, health services provision, and promotion of regional integration. She said the webinar offered opportunities for engagement with different stakeholders in the gas industry to come up with tangible results in the short to medium term that will add value to the aspiration of Sadc on promoting sustainable economic growth and enhancement of livelihoods of citizens.
Nepad Business Foundation chief executive officer, Mr Peter Varndell encouraged private sector players in the gas and energy sector to continue to engage, collaborate and support the public sector in the execution of the government endorsed and supported industrialisation strategy for the region of which natural gas is a clear enabler.
DBSA Group executive, Mr Mohan Vivekanandan, informed the participants that the bank supported and financed the RGMP phase 1 study and that it has been working in the gas infrastructure developments in Mozambique and South Africa in the past years. He further emphasised that DBSA was willing to partner with other development finance institutions (DFIs) and the private sector to support both soft and hard gas infrastructure projects including development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Mozambique and other parts of the Region.
Sadc DFRC head of public private partnerships, Mr Kogan Pillay, said natural gas was one of the primary sources of energy in the developed countries such as Canada for decades and as such, it was prime time to develop regional gas markets. The webinar was held to sensitise the business community, private sector, financing institutions and international cooperating partners on the key outcomes and recommendations of RGMP.
Source: The Chronicle Zimbabwe