An African Energy Chamber-Gazprom international roundtable opened with impactful addresses by high-level experts from both the African and Russian energy sectors, all of which emphasized the critical role natural gas plays for the population and the economy.
The African Energy Chamber (AEC) – serving as the voice of the African energy sector – hosted an international roundtable in collaboration with Russian-based global energy company Gazprom in Johannesburg on Thursday under the theme, ‘The Benefits of Natural Gas for the Population and the Economy.’ The important forum opened with keynote addresses delivered by a strong slate of both South African and Russian energy experts, with speakers emphasizing the critical role gas plays in the global energy mix and how Russian expertise can help forge a new future of energy security and economic prosperity in Africa on the back of gas.
“This event could not come at a timelier manner. Six hundred million people across Africa do not have access to electricity, 900 million do not have access to clean cooking technologies. For Gazprom, as a global energy company, to pick Africa and partner with the chamber to drive this message, thinking of solutions and ideas at a time when we are faced with people telling us to halt gas production, this could not come at a better time,” Ayuk started.
Russia has long-been an important partner for Africa, with bilateral trade and cooperation serving as pillars of growth for both economies. Now, the country is looking at amplifying its role in and cooperation on the continent, with natural gas representing a central point of focus.
H.E. Ilya Rogachev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho stated that, “South Africa is a very important partner for our country. It is very important to foster more advanced and complex forms of cooperation rather than just increasing the level of bilateral trade. In this context, the energy sector is a very important one, particularly given the challenges the South African energy sector has been facing recently.”
Gazprom’s Head of Department Dmitry Khandoga expanded on how Russia plans on expanding cooperation with Africa, stating that Gazprom’s expertise stands to play an important part in supporting the development and maximization of gas in Africa.
“We see that Africa is well positioned for future growth but at the same time, there are a number of key issues that need to be addressed such as food security and energy security. By 2040, the number of cities in Africa with a population of more than five million people will more than double…you cannot rely on traditional fuels such as wood if you are moving to cities. If you are developing the digital economy, you need to make sure that energy is reliable and secure. Gazprom has vast experience in all spheres of the gas value production chain.”
Khandoga provided insight into Gazprom’s activities, showcasing how the company has emerged as a globally competitive gas giant owing to progress across every segment of the value chain. According to Khandoga, “This year, Gazprom celebrated its 30th anniversary. Our total reserves amount to 20.943 trillion cubic meters of gas, enough to supply the entire world.” Similar to Ayuk’s sentiments, Khandoga believes that, “Gas is not a transition fuel, it is a destination fuel. We are confident that the technological experience of Gazprom will be in very much demand by our African counterparts.”