West African Gas Project Could Alleviate Europe’s Energy Headache

Europe’s decision to phase out Russian gas provides a ready and lucrative market for the big natural gas project in West Africa, Mauritania’s oil minister Salah said.

As Europe tries to limit gas supplies from Russia and Moscow has cut flows to Europe, Africa may have an opportunity to replace the gap, but it needs to act fast before a long term shift to cleaner energy diminishes the West’s appetite for fossil fuels.

Salah said during the African Energy Forum held in Brussels that in the 10 year period from now until 2030, priority must be given to exploit all the potential of the country’s natural gas.

He added that price hikes have created an opportunity for Mauritania, Senegal and other African nations to export more gas to Europe, and as the continent scrambles to diversify its sources, they should not miss it.

The BP operated Greater Tortue Ahmeyim gas project off the shores of Mauritania and Senegal is scheduled to come online by December 2023, in addition to another smaller field by 2025.

German Chancellor Scholz visited Senegal last month to convey the major gas importer’s interest in helping to develop gas resources there as it seeks alternatives to Russian supplies.

Europe’s benchmark gas prices have risen this week to more than 300% higher compared to a year ago. High energy prices are ramping up inflation that is near four-decade highs in some developed countries, adding to fears of recession.

The International Energy Agency said on Wednesday that a reduction in flows from Russia to Europe could foreshadow a total cutoff and urged the continent to begin preparing for a deeper supply crunch immediately.

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