East Africa: Sleeping oil giant no more

East Africa has been more popular for its wildlife and vast lands. Nowadays, however, its status as a region with abundant natural gas reserves is likewise gaining ground and the flow of oil investment into the region has certainly done much in developing these reserves.

A vast natural gas supply has been recently discovered in Mozambique and Tanzania, and the assessed volume is large enough to feed Britain, France, Germany and Italy’s gas consumption for one year, at the very least. There were oil finds in the past, but these were quite smaller in volume compared with those discovered just recently.

Gas suppliers in the region are now in a frenzy over these new discoveries. This early on, concerned sectors are already into talks about how the people of East Africa could best benefit from this vital resource.

Investing in oil exploration in the region had almost gone feverish as news of recent oil finds, starting off with Tanzania and Mozambique, spread rapidly.

Gas producers Anadarko Petroleum and BG Group’s successful explorations have started to pay off.  Anadarko, for instance, discovered about 50 trillion cubic ft. of gas in Mozambique – almost at par with Libya’s gas reserves.

Based on the United States Geological Survey, Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania may hold about 253 trillion cubic ft. of gas – supply volumes way above those held by Nigeria.

Nigeria is the largest energy supplier in the African region holding 186 trillion cubic ft. of gas reserves.

East Africa’s energy consumption is quite minimal at this time, thus, a very large portion of gas can be frozen into LNG and delivered to other markets whose reliance on foreign LNG sources are running at peak levels.

Jim Hackett, Chief Executive of Anadarko said “We can help vault Mozambique into being one of the world’s three largest LNG exporters.”

Even Reuters estimates that East African nation Mozambique may rival Algeria as the sixth biggest gas supplier in the world. Reuters projects this to happen within the next 10 years.

Another plus factor offered by eastern Africa is that it is more economical to invest in oil plants and facilities in the area because of relatively cheap land and labor.

Despite possible threats from minority Somali groups found in the Indian Ocean, the political situation in East Africa is certainly more stable compared with the Mid-East, where conflicts appear to have been relentless over the years.