The Wits Energy Leardership programme hosted a seminar to “to better inform students and the South African public about a major economic development in Southern Africa.” 

The potential of gas as a solution to South Africa’s energy crisis and as an energy investment came under the spotlight at a seminar hosted by the Wits Business School (WBS) on Thursday, May 9.

Guest speaker Paul Eardley-Taylor, from Standard Bank, reflected on the economic growth implications of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) investment decisions in Mozambique. He estimated that investments into LNG in Mozambique would add about $15 billion annually to that country’s economy.

Eardley-Taylor said that “South Africa can make competitive liquefied natural gas purchases and take risks on spot pricing,” given its proximity to countries like Mozamique, Angola and Nigeria which reduces delivery costs.

Professor Rod Crompton, assistant professor of the Energy Leadership Programme at WBS, explained that as South Africa changes its use of energy, there has been an increased use of solar energy in the electricity grid because of the rise in electricity demand towards evening peak demand times.

This will cause a need for power stations that can deliver electricity quickly.

“Gas-to-power is an ideal technology for this purpose. In the view of … Eardley-Taylor … imported LNG would be the lowest cost source of natural gas,” Crompton added.

This offers opportunities for goods and services exports in South Africa and can amount to “about three and a bit billion dollars”,  said Eardley-Taylor.

Crompton told Wits Vuvuzela that the aim of the seminar was “to better inform students and the South African public about a major economic development in Southern Africa.”

“When all the plants have been built, these gas facilities in northern Mozambique will be the most expensive thing on earth ever built by human beings. The implications for Southern Africa are massive,” Crompton added.

FEATURED IMAGE: Paul Eardley-Taylor and Professor Rod Crompton interacting in a Q&A after a seminar at Wits Business School on May 9, 2019.  Photo: Tsholanang Rapoo.