Time to step on the gas?

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On July 1 2026, just more than 28 months from now, a vast swathe of South African industry — from manufacturers of car windscreens, beer bottles, industrial powders and even bakeries — will grind to a sudden stop unless the government rapidly intervenes to encourage the construction in Mozambique of a new liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal. Jaco Human, CEO of the Industrial Gas Users Association of Southern African tells Peter Bruce in this edition of Podcasts From the Edge that now that Sasol, for the last 20 years the monopoly supplier of LNG to industry for heating has given notice that it will stop supplies from its Mozambique fields in 2026, industries using gas in their furnaces don’t use enough to justify the construction of a new import terminal. They need Eskom or something like it to guarantee an off take from a new terminal of at least 50 petajoules (that’s roughly 50m 19kg LPG bottles in volume of LNG). The industrial users already use 50 petajoules a year. They employ 100 000 people. But the scary thing is that Eskom has no gas-fired power plants and the debate about using gas-to-power as a transition from coal in SA is still raging. Critics argue that new installing new LNG infrastructure now would quickly leave it stranded as other greener technologies become more efficient and cost-effective. Human says work needs to start on a new terminal in the next four months! Two years from then, gas-laden Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRUs) Ships which transport, store and regasify Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) on board would need to dock at a new terminal at Maputo’s Matola port and pump it into the existing Romco pipeline that Sasol has been using. There is literally no time and there is literally no chance of the SA government making a decision in time.
27 Feb English South Africa News Commentary · Politics

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