The World Bank could be open to funding gas projects in Mozambique to ensure greater energy access if the costs are the cheapest among energy sources, Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa, told Bloomberg in an interview published on Monday.
Back in 2017, the World Bank Group said it would no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019. But the group noted that “In exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to financing upstream gas in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the countries’ Paris Agreement commitments.”
In low-income Mozambique, one of the poorest countries globally, 30.6% of the population of around 32 million people had access to electricity in 2020, per World Bank data.
Kwakwa told Bloomberg that the World Bank could support Mozambique’s upstream gas development if that is the lowest-cost resource to have more people gain access to electricity and help other countries, via exports, to cut back on more polluting energy sources such as coal.
“My sense of Mozambique’s natural gas assets is that it can play an important role for the global transition,” Kwakwa told Bloomberg while on a visit to Mozambique.
“We are seeing that already most of Mozambique’s gas is being exported to Europe, so Europe is benefiting from Mozambique’s gas and keeps Europe also from reverting to less clean energy sources.”
International oil majors have several projects offshore Mozambique, where large volumes of gas have been discovered in recent years. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Africa is one of the EU’s options to replace Russian pipeline supply.
Insurgents and attacks near areas of LNG developments have stalled TotalEnergies’ project in Mozambique.
But Italy’s Eni in November started LNG exports from the Coral gas field in the ultra-deep waters of the Rovuma Basin offshore Mozambique.
“The first shipment of LNG from Coral South project, and from Mozambique, is a new and significant step forward in Eni’s strategy to leverage gas as a source that can contribute in a significant way to Europe’s energy security, also through the increasing diversification of supplies, while also supporting a just and sustainable transition,” Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi said.