*Says gas best means for combating emission
Lagos — International oil giant, Total said it has washed its hands off coal-energy production in South Africa.
Patrick Olinma, Executive Director, Oil & Gas Commercial, Total E&P Nigeria Ltd. stated this during a Seplat Energy Summit 2020 held last week.
While restating the firm’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, he described gas as the “best” means for combating emission when compared to coal.
He added that the firm’s target is to produce clean low energy consuming fuel for its customers.
South Africa produces in excess of 255 million most from Witbank tonnes of coal and consumes almost three-quarters of that domestically, according to 2011 estimate.
Around 77% of the country’s energy needs are directly derived from coal and 92% of coal consumed on the African continent is produced in South Africa.
And as at 2019, its Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe still said the country’s plan to boost electricity generation over the next decade will be a mix of renewable energy and coal power.
As it stands, Total is not the only country that has backed down from South Africa as a result of the country’s insistence on keeping coal in its energy mix.
Anglo American Plc said it also plans to exit its biggest thermal coal business in South Africa within the next three years. The company has spent decades positioning itself as an environmental and social champion, working toward a possible demerger of the South African coal operations as its preferred option. The unit could be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange within the next two to three years.
“We are fully convinced that gas is the best for combating emission,” Mr. Olinma said.
India, South Africa’s largest consumer of thermal coal also wants to phase out all thermal coal imports by 2024 after Glencore, the largest producer of thermal coal for the seaborne market announced its plans to exit the SA coal market. Glencore said it will allow its coal reserves in the country to deplete in order to meet its Scope 3 targets, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2035.