South Africa to look at Mozambique gas as energy problems continue

 ·14 Mar 2022

South Africa is keen to further open trading ties with neighbouring Mozambique as it looks for opportunities around natural gas, says president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Speaking ahead of senior-level meetings between the two countries this week, Ramaphosa said the neighbouring nations should recognise and nurture their economic ‘interdependence’.

“Mozambique remains one of South Africa’s top trading partners in the region, and there are several opportunities for expansion. South Africa is keen, in particular, to expand cooperation in the energy sector,” he said.

“Mozambique is endowed with significant volumes of natural gas. This can benefit not only the people of Mozambique and South Africa but also the rest of the SADC region. Energy security is vital to economic growth in our respective countries, and we look forward to significant progress towards securing and sustaining our energy needs.”

Ramaphosa’s comments come as the country faces a record-high petrol price hike in April and ongoing load shedding. The government has previously indicated that it sees natural gas as key to the country’s economic future.

In September 2021, energy company Sasol and the state-owned Central Energy Fund (CEF) announced a partnership to accelerate the development of gas resources in South Africa.

“At the core of achieving our strategic mandate of ensuring the security of supply is domestic job creation and an approach to the just energy transition that fosters increasing domestic value addition,” said CEF chief executive Dr Ishmael Poolo.

“In this regard, gas remains a critical component in our country’s just energy transition journey, and our continued collaboration with Sasol in unlocking growth in the gas space remains critical for us in contributing to the achievement of an optimal energy mix.”

Renewable energy company Renergen has reported promising results after drilling at the Virginia Gas Project, with the group reportedly discovering a significant deposit of natural gases.

The Virginia Gas Project is the only onshore petroleum plant in South Africa. The site covers an area that includes Welkom, Virginia, and Theunissen.

Read: South Africa faces record-high petrol price hike in April – government asked to intervene

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