Universal LNG Holdings said it has formed and launched West Africa LNG Development, a partnership between Universal LNG and Sembcorp Marine’s Jurong Shipyard.
“By addressing the offshore associate gas needs of the African continent, West Africa LNG Development intends to reduce pollution globally and improve Africa’s energy supply,” the two companies said in a statement.
Only 30% of Sub-Saharan Africans have access to electricity, and planned and unplanned blackouts are a daily occurrence in West Africa, despite modest electricity usage among its 300 million inhabitants.
To help supply energy to these millions of people, the chief concern of the partnership will be the deployment of new technology to capture and recycle associate gas, the natural gas byproduct of oil drilling that is typically burned or “flared” at thousands of oil fields around the world, according to the statement.
Every year, around 140 billion cubic meters of associate gas is wastefully flared, resulting in more than 300 million tons of CO2 being emitted to the atmosphere — equivalent to emissions from approximately 77 million cars.
According to the global estimates, if this amount of associate gas were used for power generation, it could provide more electricity (750bn kWh) than is being consumed today on the entire African continent.
World leaders have declared associate gas a vexing environmental and economic problem. In April, the United Nations launched the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative. Endorsed by nine countries, 10 oil companies and six development institutions, the initiative commits the oil companies to end the practice of routine gas flaring at oil production sites by 2030.
Those that signed the initiative, collectively, represent more than 40 percent of the entities that flare gas globally.
“While the entire world seems to agree that the practice of flaring must stop, a cost-effective, workable solution has not yet been brought to the global stage,” Jeffrey Liu, CEO/Chairman of Universal LNG Holdings said.
Instead of flaring, the partnership’s technology will capture the gas and convert it to LNG, which will then supply African nations with much-needed energy resources, the statement added.