S.Africa to improve pipelines, ports to buoy gas imports

by Reuters 0

Africa’s most advanced economy is dependent on coal for power and also uses relatively expensive diesel for turbines.

State-run power utility Eskom which is implementing controlled power blackouts in a bid to keep the lights on as demand threatens to outstrip supply, plans to replace diesel with gas to run its generators within the next three years to save on costs.

Cash-strapped Eskom’s woes are spurring the search for other sources of energy for power generation such as gas.

“Infrastructure in landing gas is lacking, we want it as quick as possible, in the next 24 to 30 months,” acting director general of the department of energy, Wolsey Barnard told Reuters on the sidelines of an Africa energy conference.

“It’s not only piping that you will need. You need mooring facilities. You need degasification facilities,” Barnard added.

Eskom said on Friday the government would source gas from its neighbours and was already in talks with Mozambique and Namibia, which have discovered large natural gas deposits.

Asked if the gas would come from neighbouring Namibia or Mozambique, Barnard said: “It could be, it could be piped from there. It could also be gas from Algeria, Nigeria, and Tanzania that have ample gas supplies that can be brought by ship to us.”