Africa as an Alternative to Russian Gas: Importing Fossil Fuels

Trans-Sahara gas pipeline should ensure more gas exports to Europe
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Africa as a potential alternative energy source to Russian gas
In the search for alternatives to Russian gas, Europe is turning to some African countries. Mohamed Adow, founder of Power Shift Africa, a Nairobi-based think tank that supports African countries on their way to climate neutrality, does not support this. That is why he criticizes the plans of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi to develop fossil energy sources in Africa.
Indeed, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been pushing hard for new gas deals with Algeria, Egypt, Angola, the Republic of Congo and Mozambique. Other countries such as Libya, Senegal, Niger and Nigeria could also play a role.
Counterproductive agreements
But instead of using these visits to urge Germany and Italy to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, the presidents of Algeria and Egypt, for example, Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, pledged to cater for exports. Senegal’s President Macky Sall and current President of the African Union (AU) seem poised to become a fossil fuel exporter, even though climate change will cause Africa to experience even higher temperatures and greater suffering.
In addition, these are not long-term investments, because Europe is currently expanding the promotion of renewable energy. Conversely, as soon as this is sufficient to supply European customers with energy, imports of fossil fuels will fall.
Indeed, by 2030, the EU expects demand for natural gas to fall by 40 percent compared to 2021. Germany and Italy also plan to reduce their emissions to zero within the next 30 years. Finally, CBAM, the EU’s new carbon border adjustment scheme, will penalize fossil-fuel dependent countries in taxing high-carbon imports.
New big project: Trans-Sahara gas pipeline
Trans-Sahara gas pipeline should ensure more gas exports to Europe
Nigeria is already exporting liquefied gas to Europe by sea, says Khadi Camara from the German-African Business Association in a DW interview. “The biggest buyers of Nigerian LNG in Europe are currently France, Spain and Portugal – the countries with LNG terminals,” said the energy sector expert.
Furthermore, according to the statistics portal, the natural gas reserves in Libya will amount to around 1.4 billion cubic meters in 2020.
However, Europeans are hoping for more gas imports through the construction of a more than 4000 km long, multi-billion dollar Trans-Saharan gas pipeline (also known as NIGAL), which will affect Algeria, Niger and Nigeria. While the idea isn’t new, pipeline construction was only revived in 2021 after Algeria and Niger reopened their borders. states like. According to media reports, once completed, the pipeline will transport up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Algeria, where it will connect to the existing network to Europe.
Dependence on oil and gas slows growth
Fossil fuels have not proven themselves as the basis for African economies. Indeed, in a recent post, Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate points out that African countries whose economies rely on fossil fuel production and exports often experience economic growth that is up to three times slower than countries with a more diversified economy. For example, ENI and Total built a $20 billion offshore natural gas field and onshore LNG facility in Mozambique. At the same time, 70 percent of the country is cut off from electricity, so the gas is not intended for the locals, nor do they benefit from the profits.
Expansion of renewable energies in Africa
Germany is currently building its own terminals on the North Sea coast and at the mouth of the Elbe, which will also be used to import hydrogen.
LNG Terminal on the North Sea coast in Germany
Instead of exporting fossil fuels to Europe, African countries must therefore invest in clean, sustainable energies and skip the phase of dependence on climate-damaging fuels. After all, the development of renewable energies is not only the answer to the climate crisis, but also the key to combating energy poverty.
Edited by Y. Maiga
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