Expanded use of natural gas inevitable in sustainable development of Asia, Africa
Expanding natural gas use is the only realistic pathway to satisfying the growing energy needs of the bulging populations and rapid urbanisations of Asia and Africa, Secretary General of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) said.
Delivering a keynote address at the GECF’s fifth annual workshop on ‘Expanded Role of Natural Gas in Sustainable Development’, HE Eng. Mohamed Hamel cautioned that universal access to energy remains far from being a reality in these two regions of the world.
“Asia and Africa are also vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, despite being the least responsible for it. This hampers their drive to improve the living standards of their people and threatens livelihoods,” asserted HE Hamel.
“In the case of Africa, which is well endowed in natural gas resources, the right to develop these resources for the benefit of its people shall be preserved and access to financial support and technology shall not be hindered.”
The well-attended virtual event featured a panel each on Asia and Africa. Dr Aydar Shakirov, Head of Gas Market Analysis Department – GECF, set the scene through a presentation on gas markets.
In Panel 1 on Asia, international energy experts presented the view of producers and consumers in discussing how to wean the growing economies of Asia off of their dependence on coal and forge a natural gas-led economic development.
Panellists were: Mr Hiroshi Hashimoto, Group Manager - Institute of Energy Economics in Japan (IEEJ), Mr Alloysius Joko Purwanto, Energy Economist - Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia in Indonesia (ERIA), Prof Taesik Kim, Associate Research Fellow - Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI), and Mr Adrian Sookhan, Gas Market Analyst - GECF. Prof Nikolay Kozhanov, Research Associate - Qatar University, moderated the proceedings.
In Panel 2 on Africa, speakers touched on the flashpoints of underinvestment, historical responsibilities, and Africa’s right to development. It was mentioned that, for instance, in Sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of the population does not have access to reliable electricity.
Participants were: Mr Rashid Ali Abdallah, Executive Director - African Energy Commission (AFREC), Mr NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman - African Energy Chamber (AEC), Ms Sally Salah Eldin Nasr, Assistant General Manager for Natural Gas – Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), Ms Naima Capao, Executive Board Member – National Petroleum Institute of Mozambique (INP), and Dr Hussein Moghaddam, Senior Energy Forecast Analyst – GECF. Mr Stuart Elliot, Senior Writer on European Gas & LNG - S&P Global Commodity Insights, moderated the session.