Mineral Resource and Energy Deputy Minister, Dr Nobuhle Nkabane, says energy security is critical for economic reconstruction and recovery, particularly for a developing economy.

“We are implementing the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019 and driving required policy reforms to increase investment and ascertain energy security of supply,” Nkabane said.

Addressing a media briefing in Cape Town on the forthcoming Southern Africa Oil and Gas Conference to be held on Friday and Saturday, Nkabane said hydrocarbons, including oil and gas, will remain part of the global energy mix, including South Africa’s energy mix, into the foreseeable future.

“We are implementing the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019 and driving required policy reforms to increase investment and ascertain energy security of supply,” Nkabane said.

Nkabane said in retrospection within the energy space, the department has been placing emphasis on the development of indigenous oil and gas resources to reduce major dependencies on the imports of petroleum products, which contributes towards worsening South Africa’s economic status on the balance of payment.   

“The IRP 2019 provides for gas as a transition fuel to support large penetration of renewable energy into the grid.

“Although combustion of gas as a fossil emits relatively less greenhouse gas emission, it is comforting to realise that there is now growing global consensus on the role of gas in the energy transition,” Nkabane said.

She said the Africa Energy Outlook 2022 by the International Energy Agency supports the argument of gas as a transition fuel.

“There is growing consensus supported by technical studies that for South Africa to achieve its targets to reduce emissions in the electricity sector through the deployment of renewable energy, gas is part of the options necessary to support the network and ensure security of supply.

“We are following closely on developments that are happening globally and in our continent on oil and gas discoveries,” Nkabane said.

Nkabane said multinational gas companies have been placing their focus on Southern Africa as a geological exploration hot spot for oil and gas resources.

“There are several gas discoveries in the country that are either in development or near development, offshore and onshore.

“These discoveries include Brulpadda/Luiperd, Renergen Virginia Gas, Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas and Lephalale Coal Bed Methane. Gas is one of the significant milestones in the country’s drive to reduce carbon footprint,” Nkabane said.

Nkabane said there is ongoing Gas Commissions between South Africa and Mozambique, as well as Namibia. It will be of paramount importance to expand the Gas Commissions between South Africa and either Tanzania or Angola to increase energy coordination, cooperation and trading patterns within SADC, she said.

“The Gas Commission serves as a platform for collaboration to exchange knowledge and experience regarding the provision, access, use and management of natural gas resources in an environmentally responsible manner as well as for social and economic development,” Nkabane said. 

Source: South African Government News Agency

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