Despite the many advances in the electrification of Africa, much of the continent has yet to be connected to the grid or have access to reliable and affordable power supplies. According to World Bank figures, Africa’s electrification rate is just 42%.
With gas having overtaken coal in the power segment, along with burgeoning supplies of oil, producers need new pipelines to carry the growing surplus to the coast for export to markets in Asia, Europe and Mexico. In this scenario, oil and gas producers, pipeline investors and operators are confident North America can rely on growing demand from Asian markets in the coming years.
Owing to a combination of legal and policy restraints, as well as vociferous environmental objections, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain approval from both federal and state bodies for new gas pipeline construction. For example, California, Washington and New England have proactive energy and environmental policies to encourage renewables, energy efficiency and energy storage, all at the expense of fossil fuels including natural gas generation.
In sum, for the region’s gas exporters, on the one hand exports of LNG though costlier to transport, offer greater market flexibility and security than piped supplies. For gas importers, if local political tensions are resolved, piped natural gas is a very price competitive solution but LNG could still have a role in topping up supplies.
Once this project is complete, it should open new sources of competitive and secure natural gas to customers in these western Baltic countries. In addition, it will aid them in their transition to low carbon power generation in keeping with the Paris Accords.