Switzerland also benefits
Now all Senegalese want is natural gas – the country dreams of big money
Europe wants help from Africa. Several countries are interested in natural gas found off the coast of Senegal because of the war in Ukraine.
As a result of the Ukraine war, many European countries are competing for natural gas from Senegal. This includes Germany. In May, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (right) traveled to Africa to meet Senegalese President Macky Sall.
It’s a spectacle. Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Portugal are all vying for natural gas from Senegal and Mauritania after Russian President Vladimir Putin, 70, halted gas supplies. These countries in turn deliver to Switzerland. Chance for Senegal. She is heavily in debt, has to pay off expensive loans, and the rising cost of living is a problem.
In 2014, a significant deposit of natural gas was found under the seabed on the border between Senegal and Mauritania. Since then, both countries have been working on exploitation and expect billions in revenue. The natural gas is to be produced for at least thirty years, the profit will be shared by the energy giants BP and Kosmos, as well as the Senegalese and Mauritanian governments. A large part of the systems, the GTA gas platform, is already in place. The BP-led consortium plans to start gas production next year.
“Gas is a huge opportunity”
Thierno Seydou Ly of Senegal’s state oil and gas company Petrosen told Der Spiegel: “Gas is a huge opportunity for our country.” Negotiations are ongoing with the German energy supplier Uniper. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (64) visited Senegal in May and spoke of a “turning point”. The DPA news agency quoted him as saying that it made sense to “closely monitor” cooperation in gas production.
However, local fishermen are complaining, according to various reports. Part of the coast is closed due to the construction of a gas power plant. The environmental protection organization Greenpeace also warns of an incalculable risk to the ecosystem, as there are important marine conservation areas near the gas plant. In addition, there is criticism of the German chancellor, as she only recently stated that the government wants to withdraw from fossil fuels.
“Equal partner in Europe”
Tobias Haller (57), director of the Institute for Social Anthropology at the University of Bern, says fundamentally about Senegal: “There are definitely worse situations to get something out of it.” The question, however, is what this means for the environment and what ultimately benefits the population. Because according to Haller, fisheries and ecosystems are connected. The director of the institute tells Chancellor Scholz: “The contradiction is in topicality.” Politicians wanted to be re-elected.
Christoph Kannengiesser, 59, executive director of the German-African Trade Association, says: “Gas has always been intended as a bridging technology.” Nothing will change if the place from Russia comes from Senegal. In addition, “as with all major infrastructure projects, it is inevitable” that civil society will be affected. “Senegal can initially achieve being seen as an equal partner in energy cooperation with Europe.” The government around President Macky Sall is ready to export liquefied natural gas, but makes it clear that the development of its own country comes first. “It is a milestone not only for Senegal, but for the entire continent.”