The South African gas industry, including distribution by pipeline; with domestic consumption of 4.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2017, natural gas currently constitutes little more than 3.2% of the nation's primary energy supply.
Research and Markets cited recent statistics, which indicate that the consumption of natural gas in the country contracted by 2.3% year-on-year in 2017.
Although the Department of Energy has identified the harnessing of conventional and unconventional forms of gas as a strategic imperative, stakeholders report that South Africa's uptake of gas continues to be constrained by the country's relatively underdeveloped gas transmission and storage infrastructure.
However, gas forms an important part of the country's future energy mix.
In terms of the new Integrated Resources Plan, the installed capacity of natural gas is expected to increase to 11,930MW, or 16% of total installed capacity, by 2030.
Energy minister Jeff Radebe highlighted the vast potential gas has to benefit the energy sector and attract investment, drawing attention to the recent Brulpadda gas resource discovery, in the Outeniqua Basin of South Africa.
Oil and gas company, Total recently made an important gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda prospects on Block 11B/12B. Read more: Gas discovery, step towards exploiting hydrocarbons potential
Africa Oil&Power reported that the drilling campaign yielded 57m of net gas condensate pay and the prospect has resources of more than 500 million barrels, with significant follow on potential.
“Imported liquefied natural gas, piped natural gas, imported liquefied petroleum gas, indigenous gas like coal-bed methane and ultimately shale gas, are part of our strategy for regional economic integration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to provide the energy infrastructure to support economic growth,” Radebe stated.
According to Radebe, SADC has recognised the strategic need for a regional Gas Master Plan, given the recent gas discoveries in parts of SADC, pointing out that gas resources from Mozambique and Tanzania were especially well positioned for cross boundary development of gas pipeline infrastructure.
“It is important that gas demand in the region is serviced from regional gas resources, so as to increase the opportunity for intra-African trade and economic collaboration,” he noted.