July 15, 2024
Towards a Gas-Based Energy Renaissance: World LPG Association Partners with African Energy Week 2023
– By Godswill Odiong

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Natural gas has been dubbed the ‘fuel of the future’ in Africa, largely due to its availability and sustainability. With over 620 trillion cubic feet of proven gas resources across the continent, the development of the industry offers newfound opportunities for Africa to tap into an alternative energy supply. At a time when the continent is making great strides to industrialize, the development of the resource through Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) can serve as a catalyst for economic growth while providing energy to the over 900 million people currently without access to clean cooking solutions.

With African energy stakeholders set to convene in Cape Town this October for the African Energy Week (AEW) conference, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) is proud to announce that the World LPG Association (WLPGA) has joined the conference as a partner. As the authoritative voice of the global LPG industry, the WLPGA represents the full LPG value chain, and has a primary goal of adding value to the sector by driving demand while promoting investment and development across the industry. This mandate aligns closely with that of the AEW 2023 conference, and the partnership will be instrumental in opening up new opportunities for industry growth and collaboration.

Africa’s desire to transition to cleaner sources of fuel while correspondingly scaling up energy security through large-scale gas investments has highlighted the instrumental role energy solutions such as LPG will play across the continent. As a clean-burning and easily transportable source, LPG’s accessibility and efficiency as a transportation, cooking and heating product makes it an ideal energy solution for Africa. Many countries across the continent are already making efforts to stimulate the growth of the market. South Africa, for example, greenlit its LPG Rollout Strategy in 2022, aimed at advancing the domestic industry and expanding the application of LPG in the energy mix. Similarly, the Cameroonian government plans to have 58% of the population rely on LPG for cooking by 2030 while Ghana targets 35% of the population in the next five years.

Despite these targets, Africa’s LPG market is still in its infancy stage. Currently, Africa accounts for merely 4% of global LPG consumption, with factors such as lack of affordable supplies and the absence of large-scale LPG storage infrastructure limiting demand. However, this trend is set to change as new, large-scale gas developments come online. On the supply side, in 2023/2024, projects such as the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project in Senegal/Mauritania; the Sanha Lean Gas Connection project in Angola; and the Marine XII Fast Liquefied Natural Gas project in Congo, among many others, are poised to begin production. New gas domestic supplies mean new opportunities for LPG development, and therefore, industrialization in Africa.

Africa’s burgeoning LPG market presents lucrative opportunities for investors, particularly in the processing and distribution industry. As such, the WLPGA is advocating for an increase in downstream development. Africa’s refining capacity is currently limited to just 20 countries, and utilization rates have actually declined since 2010. At the same time, only six African countries have combined LPG storage capacity greater than 50,000 million tons. Collaboration and investment across this area is therefore critical.

Stepping into this picture, the AEW 2023 conference aims to accelerate the penetration and utilization of LPG in Africa. Leveraging its partnership with the WLPGA, the event will connect players across this industry, promoting investment and collaboration in pursuit of pan-African industrialization. WLPGA will play an instrumental part in this, facilitating cooperation and supporting the development of long-term policies and projects.

“The WLPGA’s efforts in promoting the responsible use of LPG are closely aligned with Africa’s pursuit of sustainable energy solutions. By providing clean, affordable, and accessible energy to communities across the continent, the Association plays a crucial role in addressing energy poverty, reducing emissions, and supporting Africa’s industrialization and economic development,” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.

AEW 2023 takes place under the theme, ‘The African Energy Renaissance: Prioritizing Energy Poverty, People, the Planet, Industrialization and Free Markets,’ and as such, places focus on the transformative role natural gas plays in advancing access to clean, affordable and sustainable energy solutions. During the AEW 2023 conference this October, the WLPGA will participate in various panel discussions centered around strategies for advancing the utilization and distribution of LPG in Africa. The partnership underscores the Association’s commitment to promoting a safer, cleaner and more prosperous world, and will be instrumental in unlocking the full potential of Africa’s LPG value chain.

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