Europe’s increasing demand for liquefied natural gas will create new business opportunities for sub-Saharan Africa LNG suppliers for the next decade, sources told Upstream.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World LNG Summit & Awards event in Athens, Greece, conference attendees said the outlook for LNG as an expanding component of Europe’s energy mix is supporting a business case for new projects in Africa as well as the expansion of existing assets.

Sources claimed Africa-origin LNG could take a growing share of European imports even after the crisis brought about by disrupted Russian gas flows recedes.

“[The issue of] Russia supply isn’t being fixed, but rather it’s being managed,” a source with LNG assets in Africa told Upstream in Athens.

“Looking long term — event after the blip of Russia supply — LNG from Africa can play a big role.”

A second source added: “The opportunity is significant and can transform the global dynamics of LNG supply and demand.”

Historically, Asia was a leading destination market for African LNG volumes, as well as the region displaying some of the main growth potential.

This year, as the gas shortage gripped Europe, those shipments were redirected to the bloc, where a price premium emerged.

Several sources maintained they expected the premium in Europe over Asia to persist in 2023, and potentially beyond.

This was cited as an additional reason supporting the pursuit of EU market share on the part of African suppliers.

There is a valid logistics case to establish LNG supply routes from Africa-based producers to European hubs.

One source active in the region noted that the average shipment from Nigeria to major ports in France takes about 10 days, compared with several weeks to eastern China.

“It’s so much shorter, and with those routes [to Europe] gaining in popularity, the costs would also drop,” he said.

The outlook for European demand in the medium term could unlock progress for a number of promising Africa LNG projects.

Earlier this month, the first cargo was shipped from Eni’s $7 billion Coral South floating LNG project offshore Mozambique.

The Italian major is also considering the placement of two FLNG vessels in Congo Brazzaville.

Meanwhile, US supermajor ExxonMobil is in talks to deploy two FLNG assets offshore Mozambique, Upstream reported exclusively in November.

Earlier this week, Equatorial Guinea’s state oil company announced plans to assist the Democratic Republic of Congo to create a domestic natural gas sector, potentially including LNG exports.

French independent Perenco, the only oil company producing hydrocarbons in the DRC, is eyeing gas commercialisation opportunities in the country as well as in Cameroon and Gabon.

Other countries eyeing the European market include BP, with its GTA LNG scheme offshore Senegal and Mauritania, BirAllah off Mauritania and Yakaar-Teranga in Senegal.

In addition, Shell and Equinor are progressing the Tanzania LNG project, while further gas investments are being considered in Nigeria, Angola and potentially Namibia.

In addition, TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil are awaiting the go-ahead for two huge LNG facilities onshore northern Mozambique.

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