Regional markets: Focus on Africa (2022)


It’s been several years since gasworld last profiled the African industrial gas market(s). In that time, we’ve seen arguably three trends or hot topics dominate the region’s headlines: helium (output or prospect) in Algeria, Tanzania and South Africa; medical oxygen and supply chain shortcomings; and the evolving energy sector and decarbonisation.

These markets have all commanded considerable column inches in recent years. We regularly hear about the potential for helium exploration in Tanzania, for example, while we do actually have the first ever helium production from South Africa this year, thanks to Renergen. Covid-19 and medical oxygen needs prompted major efforts to address gaps in the market and continue to do so, more than three years later. When it comes to energy, the security of that energy, and the balance between conventional hydrocarbon resources and diversified ‘new’ means of power, it feels as though we’re consistently talking about a moving target.

Given the nature of these topics, they will likely continue to dominate the messaging coming out of Africa’s gases business. But what else is driving conversation across the continent’s industrial gas markets and in what health can we view the market as a whole in 2022/23?

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