The facility provides cleaner, and more reliable and cost-effective energy, compared with coal and other petroleum products.
At the launch, CEO Andri Hugo said the facility would play a significant role in helping to unlock South Africa’s power constraints, while also reducing carbon intensity.
“South Africa is a coal-based economy with about 77% of electricity generated from coal and a large portion of transportation fuels derived from the same source. Add to that the large percentage of industrial processes that use coal and you have an entire industrial sector built around cheap coal and electricity.
“But we depend heavily on imported resources for our hydrocarbon supply and this has resulted in exposure to international energy supply uncertainty, issues of reliability and price volatility,” he pointed out.
He added that although South Africa’s gas market is small, accounting for only 3% of the energy mix, the inherent benefits have the potential to change the economy by stimulating economic growth, development stability and job creation.
“Africa has been blessed with an abundance of resources, including minerals, energy, natural resources and human capital. A combination of these, through industrial activity, can address most of the socioeconomic challenges we face.
Novo business development manager Justin Austin, meanwhile, said natural gas was the simplest hydrocarbon available, making it suitable as a feedstock for fertilisers, plastics and energy applications.
Natural gas can also be used as a heating fuel for industrial, commercial and residential applications, steam generation and direct heating applications, natural gas-run vehicles and power generation, he pointed out.
The eMalahleni gas compression station is Novo’s thirteenth – and its largest – such facility.
Austin said the most important application for natural gas going forward would be for power generation in remote locations, especially for remote mines that do not have grid accessibility and are using diesel as an energy source.