Gas Amendment Bill 2013 approved

Engineering News 19 April 2013.

Cabinet has approved the Gas Amendment Bill 2013.

“This paves the way for the Bill to be published in the Gazette for public comment,” a Cabinet statement issued by the Government Communication and Information System said on Friday.

Uninterrupted supply and development of natural gas to the economy is critical…

(Contributor’s note: This should smooth the way for increased use of natural gas instead of coal or nuclear based power. The gas would come from Mozambique by pipeline and via imported Liquefied Natural Gas from new East African sources, and other international sources. This is in line with NPC recommendations to exploit natural gas as an energy source over coal and nuclear.)



PetroSA moves ahead with new LNG import studies

Engineering News 10 December 2012.

South Africa’s national oil company PetroSA has awarded a contract to WorleyParsons to conduct a new feasibility study, as well as the front-end engineering design (Feed) study into a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility at Mossel Bay, in the Western Cape.

A previous LNG plan was abandoned in 2010, owing to concerns over the project’s commercial viability.

The new studies are designed to enable PetroSA to make an investment decision during the second half of 2013 on what could be a $400-million project…

More …

Residents up in arms over PetroSA’s new gas plan

Times Live 12 November 2012.

Rescue Vleesbaai Action Group member Martin Pauw said yesterday that the plan seems to include an “unnecessary” permanent offshore structure.

The liquefied natural gas is destined for Mossgas’s gas-to-liquid fuel refinery in Mossel Bay.

Supplies of offshore natural gas have dwindled in recent years.

A supply of gas is critical to the operation of the refinery, PetroSA said…

More …

PetroSA to look anew at LNG project

Business Day Live 8 November 2012.

NATIONAL oil company PetroSA has revived its plans to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) in order to supplement gas supplies to its Mossel Bay gas-to-liquids plant, its main source of revenue, the company said on Wednesday.

Importing the gas will prolong the lifespan of the refinery amid dwindling gas supplies from existing offshore gas fields.

It has appointed the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to manage the environmental impact assessment process for its proposed liquefied natural gas project in Mossel Bay.

The process is due to commence next month, PetroSA said…

(Editor’s note: This sounds reasonable, but oh for an Integrated energy Plan, to make sure all the right things are considered and debated.)

More …

Consortium hits gas off Kenya coast

Engineering News 10 September 2012.

PERTH ( – A consortium of energy explorers, which included Apache Corporation, Origin Energy and Pancontinental Oil & Gas, have announced a significant gas discovery off the coast of Kenya.

Pancontinental said on Monday that the Mbawa 1 well encountered around 52 m of natural gas, in an exploration well drilled to a depth of 2 553 m. The company said that reservoir and fluid parameters would become available as logs and sample analysis were completed…

(Editor’s note: The big gas finds off the East coast of Africa point to the need to include liquefied natural gas, LNG, into South Africa’s energy future. LNG can become available for power generation quickly, long before gas from South African fracking becomes available, and probably at a lower capital cost.  Rather import the gas and postpone or avoid the fracking and further coal and nuclear plants. The shale gas in the ground is not going anywhere and the coal can be exported to a voracious market, or left in the ground for future generations. We desperately need the Integrated Energy Plan to steer us instead the whims of government ministers and the pressure from lobby groups.)

Could Gas satisfy South Africa’s power needs?

SAAEA 7 September 2012.

This is important because South Africa’s industrialisation was built on cheap and abundant electricity supplies, cheap and abundant coal reserves and the low cost of building coal-fired power stations back then.

The future will be different. Nersa, the electricity regulator, has calculated that the likely “levelised” costs (or the all-in price of electricity from a project over its lifetime, including operating expenses) of generating electricity from Eskom’s two new power stations will be in the region of 97c/kWh. Eskom claims it is 80c to 90c/kWh. Whereas Eskom’s wholesale price was just 44c/kWh in 2010, 97c/kWh is the new benchmark…

(Editor’s note: This article makes a strong argument for SA to invest in liquefied natural gas infrastructure close to the new sources in East Africa and to use CCGT technology rather than coal or nuclear to supplement renewable energy sources. And at a lower cost than Kusile, Medupi and future nuclear plants. Well worth reading!)

Intermittency could limit solar PV market penetration – Thupela

Engineering News 21 June 2012.

Should solar photovoltaic (PV) become South Africa’s cheapest form of electricity, intermittency could limit the technology’s penetration of the energy market, Thupela Energy CEO Philip Calcott said.

Smart grid technologies, storage, as well as geographical and source diversity could assist in evening out changes in supply, he stated at the second yearly Solar South Africa conference, held in Johannesburg this week.

However, Calcott pointed out that for solar to extensively penetrate the market, backup power would be required.

“The backup sources will have to have a low capital cost, be flexible and have a relatively low fuel cost, if it is fuel driven,” he said and suggested that shale gas could be a feasible backup source to address long-term intermittency problems…

(Editorial note: Of course it doesn’t have to be shale gas, we could rather import liquefied natural gas from Mozambique, or get it direct by pipeline. The lead time on large scale shale gas production in SA is about 15 years – with much uncertainty along the way, such as energy policy, EIAs, financing and proving the viability of the gas fields. It is perhaps better to go the import route first. Other solutions to intermittency are to build CSP plants with storage, use imported hydro plus widely dispersed wind farms, exploit the SAPP, plus pumped storage of course.)