S. Africa Gives Urgent Priority to Gas

S. Africa Gives Urgent Priority to Gas S. Africa Gives Urgent Priority to Gas

The use of natural gas for electricity generation is a priority for South Africa, as the country seeks to address present-day power shortages and rising energy needs, said Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

"I have to bring the gas program on line as soon as possible," Joemat-Pettersson said on Monday at a press conference near Pretoria, Bloomberg reported. "South Africa, the most industrialized country in Africa, this year asked for industry opinions about its proposed gas-to-power program to procure 3,126 megawatts of gas-fired power generation. The study attracted a lot of interest."

Attention has shifted to the region with recent natural gas discoveries off neighboring Mozambique that are estimated to be enough to make it the third-largest supplier of gas chilled to liquid for shipment.

South Africa’s planned program "will see us developing the backbone of the gas industry" in the country and the region, Joemat-Pettersson said. South Africa is struggling to deal with a power crisis that has curbed economic growth to 1.5%, the slowest pace since the 2009 recession. State-owned Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has cut electricity supplies 99 days this year to ease the strained grid, as it starts operating power stations after years of delays while catching up with maintenance on existing plants.