DMRE Set to Unveil Gas Master Plan Amid Looming Supply Concerns

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The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) is gearing up to present a comprehensive Gas Master Plan to Cabinet this month, a crucial step in addressing growing concerns over gas supply shortages in South Africa.

At the Africa Energy Indaba held in Cape Town, DMRE Minister Gwede Mantashe highlighted the urgency of the situation, particularly in light of recent reports projecting a potential depletion of natural gas reserves in 2026. Such a scenario could spell disaster for both employment and manufacturing sectors in the country.

The Minister’s remarks shed light on the backdrop of commercial disputes between Sasol and its customers, exacerbating worries about the current and future availability of gas in the South African market. According to Mantashe, this predicament stems from the decline in gas flow at the source, emphasizing that natural gas is a finite resource, similar to other natural reserves.

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, the government, in collaboration with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (dtic), has initiated a task force involving private sector stakeholders. The aim is to develop a cohesive strategy ensuring a seamless transition and business continuity to mitigate potential job losses.

Furthermore, the DMRE has diligently conducted modeling and drafting work for the Gas Master Plan, slated for presentation to Cabinet imminently.

Mantashe also underscored the imperative for African nations to invest in gas infrastructure as part of transitioning from high carbon-emitting energy sources. Citing data from the Energy Institute’s Statistical Review of World Energy, he highlighted the steady dominance of fossil fuel consumption and the increasing share of renewables.

To fortify gas supply, South Africa has solidified agreements with Mozambique, including a gas sales agreement with the Mozambican State-owned hydrocarbon company. Additionally, iGas, a subsidiary of the Central Energy Fund (CEF), has bolstered ownership of the ROMPCO pipeline, enhancing bilateral cooperation in energy infrastructure.

The Minister expressed confidence in the potential of recent gas discoveries, such as those by TotalEnergies in the Outeniqua Basin and by Kinetiko Energy in Amersfoort, Mpumalanga. These discoveries are seen as strategic assets in bolstering South Africa’s energy security and propelling industrialization efforts.

As South Africa navigates the complexities of its energy landscape, the forthcoming Gas Master Plan promises to provide a roadmap for sustainable gas utilization and continued economic growth.

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