Defend Truth

ALGIERS

At the exporters’ forum, gas touted as cleanest energy source in transition to sustainable fuels

At the exporters’ forum, gas touted as cleanest energy source in transition to sustainable fuels
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune (centre) with heads of state and government attending the Seventh Summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Algiers, Algeria, on 2 March 2024. (EPA-EFE / Algerian presidency handout)

The 20-member Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) gathering came three months after COP28 in Dubai declared that planetary survival depended on a transition away from fossil fuels, with a goal of ending their use by 2050.

At their summit in Algiers, leaders of gas-exporting countries asserted their sovereignty over their reserves and their determination to promote the resource as affordable, accessible, sustainable and secure.

The 20-member Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) gathering came three months after COP28 in Dubai declared that planetary survival depended on a transition away from fossil fuels, with a goal of ending their use by 2050.

The Algiers Declaration presents gas as the cleanest source of energy in the transition from fossil to sustainable fuels.

The forum’s Gas Research Institute, inaugurated in Algiers last week, is bent on developing gas with lower carbon and methane emissions.

Senegal was granted observer status at this gathering, making it the 20th member of the grouping, which was formed in 2001 with its headquarters in Qatar.

The GECF is known as the Opec of gas. Importantly, it does not seek to follow Opec in determining the price of its commodity.

Members of the GECF sit on 72% of the world’s natural gas reserves and are responsible for 44% of the global production of natural gas.

The US, which in the past year has become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is neither a member of the GECF nor Opec.

One could hardly have expected US President Joe Biden to be at this summit, with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi among the 10 heads of state greeted by their Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, as they entered the International Conference Centre, half an hour up the coast from the Algerian capital.

Raisi railed against sanctions preventing GECF members from maximising the benefit from their gas reserves.

By contrast, Russia’s energy minister, Nikolay Shulginov, did not mention sanctions slapped on his country since it invaded Ukraine three years ago. Russian gas exports to Europe have fallen from 155 billion cubic metres in 2021 to 28 billion cubic metres.

Algeria heads the members of the GECF muscularly trying to fill that gap. It has three pipelines crossing the Mediterranean into Italy and Spain through Tunisia and Morocco.

A further pipeline from Nigeria through Algeria will increase capacity into Europe and benefit the West African power.

Delegates heard that sales of natural gas would increase by 34% this year, increasing its share of the international energy mix from 23% to 26%. The Global Gas Outlook points out that gas is an essential component of petrochemical and fertiliser production, making it a heavy hitter in providing international food security.

Qatar, the largest exporter before being overtaken by the US, has stopped shipping gas along the Red Sea because of piracy by Houthi rebels in Yemen in the name of Hamas. Shipping traffic through Suez has almost halved since the start on 7 October of Israel’s war in Gaza.

Revenue from shipping using the canal is down 46%. This fall-off has major implications for the European market.

The Algiers draft speaks of shipping liquefied natural gas to new markets. Algerian and Mozambican delegates I spoke to at the summit see South Africa as an attractive target because of Eskom’s failure to meet the country’s power needs and President Cyril Ramaphosa saying it has to seek alternative energy sources.

All three countries have learnt the bitter lesson that prosperity is dependent on stability. One, at least, is learning how a dependable energy supply is axiomatic to attracting crucial international investment. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider
Elections24 Newsletter Banner

On May 29 2024, South Africans will make their mark in another way.

Get your exclusive, in-depth Election 2024 newsletter curated by Ferial Haffajee delivered straight to your inbox.