Throughout the year, we have been following the news related to the restriction of natural gas supplies to Russia. Since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, EU countries have imposed heavy economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation for the war. Russia has also retaliated against the economic sanctions imposed on it and set out to restrict natural gas supplies to Europe, such as Germany. Russia has suspended gas supplies to Finland and several other European countries. The Russian company Gazprom has dominated the European natural gas market for a long time. This state-owned natural gas company is heavily dependent on Moscow decision-makers, since the Russian state owns most of the company’s shares.


Europe has found itself in a situation where it is forced to obtain more and more gas from elsewhere. Africa has emerged as a potential producer of natural gas. Currently, several projects related to gas production are underway in Africa. It is very likely that these projects will provide solutions for Europe, which is struggling with energy problems. Finding long-term solutions is also important because the EU has made it clear that it is seeking permanent independence from Russian natural gas.

There is some existing production in Africa. In addition, african countries, in particular Mozambique, Tanzania and Congo, are currently planning various development programmes for the production of natural gas. The purpose of these programmes is to support LNG -related production processes, such as the production of natural gas pipelines, as well as the establishment of production facilities. The aim of these new production units is to produce natural gas for the European market during this decade. At the moment, it seems as if it will be possible to start production by the end of the decade in a large number of African countries that are involved in development programmes. These new projects are important for the future. However, they do not offer solutions to the current situation.

At what stage is the start of natural gas production in African countries?

The natural gas projects at handhave great potential, but for many production and economic reasons, they are progressing slowly. It is certain information that natural gas is often found under the multis of African countries. Currently, natural gas production in Africa practically rests on the shoulders of three countries: Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt. However, international natural gas companies have not yet been able to start producing natural gas in the new producing countries. In addition to various permit arrangements, contracts and bureaucracy, it also takes time to build concrete means of production. It takes time to build the systems and infrastructure needed to mine wells and natural gas. In addition, equipment is needed to convert natural gas into liquefied natural gas, which can be supplied for export through pipelines and subsequent logistics arrangements. For the pipeline industry, african projects are a new geographical business area. However, progress has already been made. For example, in the Congo, natural gas is mined for processing. At this stage, however, production is still so small that it does not serve European countries or even local power stations.

Until now, however, we have been talking about new and future natural gas-producing countries in Africa. However, there is also existing natural gas production in Africa, which may well ease the energy crisis in Europe, within a relatively short period of time.

Africa’s existing natural gas capacity to help Europe

Now, there is natural gas production in Africa, which can contribute to making up for the lack of Russian natural gas. The previously mentioned Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt produce natural gas for European exports. These three countries currently account for 80% of Africa’s natural gas production. The same countries account for 60% of the refining of African liquefied natural gas (LNG). The positive news is that more and more natural gas production facilities are being built.

Currently, more than 75 million tonnes of natural gas are liquefied at the processing plants in these three countries every year. Of these countries, Algeria has the largest share in the supply of liquefied natural gas. The only functioning LNG production facilities in North Africa are located in Algeria and Egypt. Nigeria accounts for 65% of sub-Saharan LNG production. From a European point of view, the great news is that these countries are already responsible for a large part of the gas that Europe buys in addition to supplies from Russia. The very positive news is that there is still a lot of unused natural gas production capacity in these countries. This means that increasing production in the next few years is also realistically possible.

Africa as part of international natural gas production

Only a year ago, the future of natural gas production in Europe had long been based on Russia. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was completed in autumn 2021, approximately ten years after Nord Stream 1. Even before russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Nord Stream gas pipeline project had been criticised for increasing the dependence of Germany and eu countries similar in energy policy on Russian energy. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the situation has completely changed. Indeed, the African continent is one of the key regions as a natural gas producer. In the best-case scenario, this will also bring much-needed economic growth to Africa.