What’s the hold up on natural gas? - CNBC Africa

What’s the hold up on natural gas?

Southern Africa

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Natural gas could offer a viable solution to the energy crisis in South Africa. PHOTO: wfs

“Natural gas, because of the abundance and the affordability, has been expanding globally. We see this not only in developed countries but also in developing countries,” John Shoobridge, LNG business development manager at Shell, told CNBC Africa.

(READ MORE: Africa’s oil and gas sector grows despite challenges)

Shoobridge stated that production and technological advancements in natural gas have transformed some of the most advanced economies in the world, and that it could also provide short-term solutions for countries like South Africa.  

“In the case of the US, the shale gas revolution expanded the business to such a point that today, the gas prices are incredibly low compared to what it was some years ago,” he said.

(READ MORE: Gas could fuel Africa's economic growth)

While the use of natural gas has proved to be a success in other parts of the world, the lack of knowledge of the gas in South Africa may prove to be a hindrance.

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“Natural gas is new to South Africa. Although it has been importing from Mozambique, it’s not a widespread fuel in the country. SA naturally has explored its natural resource, coal, so clearly it’s a stepping or a learning curve in that process for this to expand," Shoobridge said. 

He added that it will be difficult to determine what the price of shale gas will be in South Africa because there is no knowledge of the cost of production and there is no knowledge of how much gas will be commercially available.

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