European Countries Look to Africa for Natural Gas
The European Union has largely depended on Russian natural gas and oil for many years. However, the war between Russia and Ukraine has led to the imposition of sanctions against the former, resulting in a significant reduction in the import of Russian natural gas. European nations that depended on Russia’s natural gas have taken this as an opportunity to look elsewhere for resources and decided to gradually shift away from this dependency. This has seen more European countries looking towards creating relationships with African countries that can supply them with natural gas.
European countries are looking towards Africa for their natural gas with Polish and German government officials recently visiting an energy project that is on the western coast of Africa. This project, which is 80% complete, involves both Mauritania and Senegal. According to Aljazeera, one of the fields discovered there should contain at least 15 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Algeria and Italy signed a $4 billion agreement in July that would allow the European nation to extract natural gas from Algeria. Egypt agreed to supply the EU with natural gas while Angola also has a deal with Italy to do the same. Nigeria has Africa’s largest deposits of gas but despite this, they only account for 14% of the EU’s natural gas imports.
Algeria and Egypt are major suppliers of natural gas. In 2020, the two countries produced 60% of the natural gas on the African continent.
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There are significant obstacles that prevent the beneficial relationship between African countries supplying natural gas and European nations that need it. These include the high costs of setting up infrastructure and the lack of security affecting long pipelines. A pipeline connection between Africa and European countries would span thousands of kilometers unprotected, passing through areas that are going through conflict.
While it would financially make sense to supply European countries with energy products such as natural gas, Africa has its own energy problems that need to be solved. Several African countries are currently experiencing power supply problems.
There is an argument for African resources to be used on the African continent before they are sold to Europe. “It is legitimate, fair, and equitable that Africa, the continent that pollutes the least and lags furthest behind in the industrialization process should exploit its available resources to provide basic energy, improve the competitiveness of its economy and achieve universal access to electricity,” Sall told the UN General Assembly in September 2022.