Eskom’s acting chief executive officer, Collin Matjila, told SAnews that the utility had plans to exploit gas reserves off Mozambique’s east coast early next year. Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, in her Energy Budget Vote last week, introduced development plans for the increased use of gas, including shale gas in the country’s energy mix.

The acting chief executive said that gas would be a “game changer” and will assist Eskom in meeting the electricity needs of its customers.  Matjila said the exploitation of gas would be a three stage process, using the gas reserves as “fuel input” into the electricity grid.  The first phase would be completed over 18 months yielding 600MW. The second phase will include the piping of gas, equal to 5000MW of power from Maputo to the Rovuma gas fields in South Africa.

The third stage includes a longer term plan to extract gas within the country, coal bed methane gas in Mpumalanga as well as shale gas in the Western Cape Province for a continuous supply of power. Matjila continued to say that the utility is looking to partner with government in this endeavour and will be in talks with Sasol to use the pipeline currently in place to pipe the 600MW of power into the country.

“That is over and above using liquid natural gas, which we can transport in ornaments. Sasol is an important partner, but we will also be engaging [with other partners],” Matjila told SAnews after an Eskom briefing with Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises and Energy yesterday.

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