The key to development on the African continent, and the foundation of its industrialization and modernization, is energy.
Considering Africa’s vast natural resources, combined with its unparalleled potential for renewable energy, the continent is poised to benefit exponentially from the energy sector, which is projected to promote economic development through the creation of jobs and the emergence of new industries.
Multinational organizations and international communities have collaborated to develop various agendas – such as Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want and the 2030 Agenda – that push for the sustainable growth and development of energy in order to facilitate access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy and transform the African energy sector to achieve universal access to electricity.
This coming decade offers a bright outlook for Africa, with many leaders, organizations, and companies expressing their dedication and commitment to attaining inclusive and sustainable growth.
Oil, Gas, and LNG Exploration and Production
In the MSGBC (Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea-Conakry) Basin, oil supermajor BP, secured a contract, expected to commence in Q1 of 2022 for drilling operations at its Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG gas project offshore Mauritania-Senegal the project will produce as much as 2.5 million tons of LNG per years. Similarly, the Sangomar oilfield, operated by Australian petroleum exploration and production company, Woodside Energy, is expected to begin commissioning by 2023. These two projects are poised to produce up to a combined 10 million tons of LNG per year.
The biggest power plant in Zimbabwe, the Hwange Thermal Power Station, with an installed capacity of 920 MW, is currently upgrading its Units 7 and 8, each with a 300 MW capacity, with commercial commissioning expected next year.
In Libya, meanwhile, Oil Minister, Mohamed Oun, indicated that the north-African country has the potential to increase its oil production to 1.6 million barrels per day by the mid-2022, provided the country’s National Oil Corporation receives sufficient funding.
In Tanzania, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has promoted the construction of the $30 billion LNG project in Lindi, which is expected to commence next year, while in Angola, oil and gas supermajor, Total, expects to reach a production capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) at its Zinia Phase 2 development project, tapping into a vast resource of 65 million barrels of oil.
Nigeria’s 650,000 bpd Dangote Oil Refinery is expected to complete Phase I and II of its operation, which, upon completion, will have an annual refining capacity of 10.4 million tons of gasoline and other petrochemicals.
Italian energy company, Eni, announced that it will commence production of LNG at its Coral South gas field offshore Mozambique in 2022, with a floating liquefied natural gas facility currently undergoing construction, which is expected to produce 3.4 million tons of LNG per year. French oil giant, TotalEnergies, has announced their intention to return to its LNG Project in the Afungi Peninsula by the first half of 2022, following their departure from the area due to security challenges earlier this year.
Earlier this year, Eni also announced a major discovery in Block Cl-101 offshore Ivory Coast, with a preliminary estimation of between 1.8 and 2.4 trillion cubic feet of associated gas. Following 20 years of exploration in water depths of up to 1,200m, the discovery is expected to reinvigorate interest in the west-African country’s sedimentary basins as viable sources of potential gas prospects.
To identify suitable regions for the development of green hydrogen technologies, the German-based research and institutional funding ministry, The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is providing $6.6 million for its “H2 Atlas-Africa: Atlas of Green Hydrogen Generation Potentials in Africa”, facilitating the identification of locations for the production of green hydrogen as well as its testing of production, transport, and processing in Africa from 2020 to 2022. The Ministry, in collaboration with sub-Saharan African partners, aims to produce as much as 165,000TWh of green hydrogen annually for the continent.
With falling costs of wind and solar power, the opportunity to produce green hydrogen has begun to take momentum as the world becomes more reliant on renewables, with hydrogen offering unparalleled energy solutions in transport and storage. As such, green hydrogen has the potential to play a significant role in the decarbonization of the mining industry.
In September 2021, it was announced that French utility company, Engie, would partner with Release, a subsidiary of Norwegian independent power producer Scatec, to begin commercial production of green hydrogen at the Mogalakwena platinum mine in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The new hydrogen production plant is expected to become a model for the process of decarbonizing the mining sector for future projects.
South African energy company, Sasol, has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Northern Cape Development Agency, which will see the company play a major role in the feasibility study for the Boegoebaai green hydrogen development.
Sasol has been at the forefront of engagements with the Infrastructure and Investment Office of the Presidency in a bid to develop a hydrogen economy in South Africa. The project’s location and classification as a strategic integrated project are key enablers to exploring Boegiebaai’s potential as a green hydrogen hub.
Sasol has partnered with the Industrial Development Corporation, which will be supporting joint funding for the feasibility study. The duration of the study is expected to take approximately 24 months and the outcomes will determine the next steps of development.
A Hydrogen Valley Feasibility Study Report, meanwhile, was launched on 9 October and presents hydrogen as a significant opportunity for economic development and renewable energy generation in South Africa.
The report is a collaborative partnership between the Department of Science and Innovation, Anglo-American Platinum, Bambii Energy, and Engie; and outline opportunities to transform the Bushveld Complex and larger region around Johannesburg, Mogalakwena, and Durban into a Hydrogen Valley.
2022 is projected to be a highly productive and beneficial year for Egypt, with the north-African country supporting the goal of generating 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by next year. With the 1650 MW Benban Solar Park – commissioned in 2019 – and the upcoming $37 million solar-plus-storage project currently underway to power the country’s Sukari gold mine, Egypt has demonstrated its commitment to integrating solar as a sustainable power solution and diversifying its energy mix.
On the other side of the continent, South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Program, aimed at diversifying the country’s energy mix through private sector investment in wind, solar, and hydro, received a list of bids for Bid Window 5 in August this year, with commercial and financial close for Preferred Bidders expected by March 2022. The fifth round of the program saw bids for more than 100 programs, of which 63 are solar photovoltaic (PV), and 39 are wind. In April this year, South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy published a request for proposals to provide an additional 2,600 MW of power under the REIPPP Program.
In mining, a consortium between off-grid developer, Pele Green Energy, and independent power producer, EDF Renewables South Africa, will commence construction of a 100 MW solar photovoltaic plant at the Mogalakwena mine in the country’s Limpopo Province, with operation expected by the end of 2022.
Meanwhile, commissioning of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, pushed back to 2022, is expected to contribute an additional 6.45 GW of installed capacity to Ethiopia’s national grid. Upon completion, the dam will become the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa and the seventh largest in the world.
According to a 2020 International Energy Agency report, cost reduction and structured policy support will drive the growth of renewables beyond 2022, with Maximillian Jarrett, Africa Program Manager at the International Energy Agency, stating, “We estimated that under favorable policy conditions, solar PV annual additions could reach a record level of 150 GW by 2022 – an increase of almost 40% in just three years.”