Please comment on the proposed Gas Master Plan by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE). Here follows an excerpt from their basecase report regarding the importance of gas in the future energy mix:
“At just 2.6% of the country’s total energy mix, South Africa’s natural gas market is small, but with all its inherent benefits, it has the potential to completely change the economy by stimulating economic growth and development, stability, and job creation.
The meaningful addition of natural gas to the country’s energy mix will rejuvenate an overburdened, out-dated energy infrastructure and reduce cyclical energy shortfalls. Perhaps even more importantly, it will stimulate the economy by allowing business and industry to lower their energy and operational spend while also creating significant numbers of new jobs and skills development opportunities.
Considering that nearly 90% of South Africa’s existing natural gas demand is supplied by a single entity, namely Sasol Gas, the associated economic and employment risks of limited supply options, development and sourcing of alternative natural gas resources are high. It is imperative to ensure economic and employment stability within the natural gas sector by introducing more suppliers.
Southern Africa’s gas potential has been revealed by major discoveries that, when developed, widen options for greater regional energy trade. South Africa’s unconventional gas potential remains to be quantified but raises the prospect of possible domestic production in the longer term. Globally the natural gas industry has moved into a supply surplus, favouring a larger role for gas as a clean fossil fuel in many countries’ energy policies.
A challenge in developing the gas sector is to bring gas demand and supply on stream at the same time and spread geographically to stimulate broader localized demand through South Africa. Without such localized gas demand, it is difficult to develop distributed gas supply and without such distributed gas supply it is difficult to develop localized gas demand. One way of breaking this impasse is to create significant “anchor” gas demand through the development of a gas-to-power programme.
In pursuit of adding generating capacity, lowering carbon emissions, enhancing energy security and supporting industrial development, South Africa has taken the first steps in a gas-to-power programme to be executed under the Integrated Resource Plan 2019, aiming to increase the national energy mix natural gas contribution from 2.6% to 15.7% by 2030.”
The purpose of the report is to establish baseline information for the natural gas sector in South Africa as well as outline the Gas Master Plan roadmap. This includes an overview of the gas value chain and regulatory framework.
The report also sets the scene for the Gas Master Plan development process. Once developed, the plan will serve as a policy instrument, providing a roadmap for taking strategic, political and institutional decisions which will guide industry investment planning and coordinated implementation.