Mozambique: International Energy Agency Says No Future for Mozambique Gas

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Mozambique's gas fields cannot be developed if global warming is to be kept to 1.5º above pre-industrial levels, according to a dramatic International Energy Agency (IEA) report published Tuesday (18 May). The IEA is part of OECD and thus represents establishment, mainstream thinking. So when it says gas is done, that carries significant weight.

The IEA report is entitled Net Zero by 2050, and shows what needs to be done to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050, to limit the long-term increase in average global temperatures to 1.5º C, and ensure universal access to electricity and clean cooking by 2030. https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050

To do this requires that "beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development." Only two Cabo Delgado projects fit within that window - ENI's floating LNG plant (3 million tonnes per year - mt/y - of LNG) and Total's suspended project (13 mt/y). ExxonMobil has still not committed, and Total has not committed to a larger project, so under IEA scenario they are excluded. In any case, the Economist (4 Feb) reports that shareholders are pushing ExxonMobil to go green. This means production of at most 16 mt/y, which is far less than the 100 mt/y being predicted just six years ago.

"The contraction of oil and natural gas production will have far-reaching implications for all the countries and companies that produce these fuels. No new oil and natural gas fields are needed." This will mean a huge cut in projected income for gas-producing countries. "Net zero calls for nothing less than a complete transformation of how we produce, transport and consume energy."

"No new natural gas fields are needed… beyond those already under development. Also not needed are many of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction facilities currently under construction or at the planning stage. Between 2020 and 2050, natural gas traded as LNG falls by 60%. ... In the 2030s some [gas] fields may be closed prematurely or shut temporarily."

The AEI report puts forward three scenarios:

+ Specific policies that are in place or have been announced by governments. This leads to a global temperature rise of 2.7º. In 2050 natural gas use is 50% higher than now. (This is approximately the projection of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.)

+ All announced pledges are achieved in full and on time. This leads to a global temperature rise of 2.1º. Natural gas use expands by 10% to 4 350 bcm (billion cubic metres) in 2025 and remains about that level to 2050. (The is what the gas industry is planning for.)

+ IEA net zero. Global temperature rise is held to 1.5º. Natural gas increases to 4 300 (bcm) in 2025, similar to "all announced pledges", but then drops dramatically to 3 700 bcm in 2030 and to 1 750 bcm in 2050. By 2050, natural gas use is 55% lower than in 2020. (Note that by the 2025 peak, only ENI's floating platform will be producing.) This scenario also includes universal access to electricity and clean cooking by 2030.

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