Trying to understand gas geopolitics is like trying to crack gestalt art: It is to constantly turn the way the mind's eye looks. The challenge is to tame our first impressions from overpowering our framing when everything we need to see is right in front of us. The international manoeuvering around Mozambique's gas fields must be viewed as complex gambits in a convoluted power play.
Euclid is reported to have said to Ptolemy "there is no royal road to geometry" and so there is no royal road to decarbonisation. The dirty, as it seems in the foreseeable future, will wash its hands with the clean.
Those who think the only way to shake off our dependence on coal is going to come through a 100% renewables revolution are living in Utopia. South Africa is slowly building a gas bridge to Mozambique. It is not like we are new to this thing.
Mozambique's economy is increasingly being tethered to South Africa's. More than 30% of its exports are to South Africa. The country's national budget is meagre: about $4-billion, compared with the annual turnover of Sasol, a private company, which is about $3-billion.
South Africa's new diplomacy in Mozambique is to...