While some producers may benefit from Europe’s scramble for non-Russian oil and gas, the reality is unlikely to match the hype.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the attendant horrors have prompted moves by many countries to reduce their dependence on imports of Russian oil and gas. The US, for instance, has imposed an immediate ban. The UK intends to stop oil imports by the end of 2022. The European Union plans to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of 2022 and fully eliminate oil and gas imports by 2030. This European plan is particularly significant given that Russia is responsible for 25% of the EU’s oil imports and 45% of its gas imports.
These shifts, combined with Western oil and gas companies dumping their Russian interests, present an opportunity to other petroleum producing countries, albeit one tempered by actions to address the climate crisis. This has led governments and commentators to discuss African producers as potential beneficiaries of Europe’s supply gap, with talk of a “seismic shift” to Africa and of the continent as “Europe’s next gas station“.