LPG World editorial: Clean cooking’s watershed moment?

  • Market: LPG
  • 16/05/24

African clean cooking schemes could prove to be an early energy transition success story now that world leaders view them as environmental imperatives

The $2.2bn in funding pledged for clean cooking programmes in Africa over the next five years, announced at the IEA's Clean Cooking Summit in Paris on 14 May, could be a "turning point", according to the agency's executive director Fatih Birol. Not only would this be true in terms of tackling what is a long-neglected problem. It is also true for the LPG industry, which has been extolling the benefits of a transition to LPG in sub-Saharan Africa for many years.

Other than the dozen or so individual financial commitments made by governments and organisations, what resonated most from the event was just how achievable transitioning sub-Saharan Africa to cleaner fuels such as LPG actually is. Often the immediate reaction is to balk at the challenges — the lack of infrastructure, the lack of regulatory frameworks, the corruption, the cost of the LPG and equipment. Yet this was when it was looked at purely through the prism of the market. Now it is an environmental and social imperative.

Many of the political leaders from Europe, Africa and the US that spoke noted that greenhouse emissions from cooking were comparable to the airline and shipping sectors, yet tackling the former is far less complex, less expensive and receives scant recognition in comparison with the latter two. "We can fix it now… it is not high-tech, it is low-tech," Norway's prime minister Jonas Gahr Store told delegates.

Another often ignored part of the issue is how disproportionately women are affected by cooking with harmful solid biomass fuels — perhaps an underlying factor behind the many years of neglect at a national and international level. This is a gender issue, both Birol and Tanzania's first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, noted. The obvious health and social benefits from the transition to clean cooking will be most keenly felt by women and their children, who are at home breathing in the smoke from open fires. Several of the speakers, including African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina and World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus, even spoke of their own experience of growing up in a household with open fires, and the consequent unnecessary suffering their mothers in particular had to endure.

LPG is not the only solution here — others mentioned included electric cookers, biogas, bioethanol and cleaner cooking stoves. And as a fossil fuel, it will ultimately be replaced at some stage by renewable alternatives. But it is the best solution right now for large parts of the region. "LPG is the most efficient in terms of its benefits and its ease of use," Togo's president Faure Gnassingbe said. LPG markets can develop in the region through subsidies and LPG price regulation to moderate volatility, while countries must also invest in domestic LPG production as well as import and distribution infrastructure, he said. Each country will be different, but it is "well within our reach", Gnassingbe added.

From pledge to realisation

The sub-Saharan African region and the LPG industry must now work with foreign governments, financial institutions and private-sector companies to ensure that the large sums pledged are invested in a pragmatic and fruitful way. The IEA will come back in a year's time to report on the progress of the various commitments made at the summit and will provide updates online in an effort to ensure progress and transparency, Birol said.

There is reason for cautious hope. The feasibility of achieving the transition and the relatively low levels of foreign investment involved — and the huge opportunities for LPG companies that will emerge — could create the conditions for success of a kind that has so far eluded many other such ambitions. It would be a huge boon for the world to have one such success story to point to by 2030 in its long, hard struggle to transition to a cleaner energy future.


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Houston, 12 June (Argus) — US consumer inflation eased slightly in May for a second month, a sign Federal Reserve rate hikes are having some success in reining in inflation pressures after a spurt of gains earlier this year. The consumer price index (CPI) slowed to an annual 3.3pc in May from 3.4pc in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. So-called core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, increased by 3.4pc over the past year, the lowest reading in three years, from 3.6pc through April. The energy index rose by an annual 3.7pc, compared to a 2.6pc rise in April, while the gasoline index rose by 2.2pc versus 1.2pc in April. Energy services rose by an annual 4.7pc. Headline inflation had ticked up from 3.1pc in January amid stronger than expected economic data, prompting the Federal Reserve to delay widely expected rate cuts as it pledged it needed to see more evidence of a "sustained" slowing in inflation. The inflation report, which came in slightly under economists' median forecasts, comes hours ahead of a Federal Reserve policy announcement today expected to reveal projections on whether Fed members still expect to begin cutting the target rate this year and by how much. Fed policymakers today are widely expected to keep their target rate unchanged. The Fed hiked its target rate to a 23-year high of 5.25-5.5pc in July 2023 and has kept it there since as it has battled to bring down inflation that hit a high of 9.1pc in June 2022. After the report, the CME's FedWatch tool signaled a 73pc probability that the Fed will cut its target rate in September from near 53pc odds Tuesday. CPI was unchanged from the prior month, the first flat monthly reading in two years, following a 0.3pc monthly gain in April and 0.4pc gains in the prior two months. Core CPI was up by 0.2pc for the month after a monthly gain of 0.3pc in April. The energy index fell 2pc in May on the month after rising 1.1pc the prior month. The food index rose by 0.1pc in May after being unchanged the prior month. By Bob Willis Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Brazil LPG usage review due in Nov


07/06/24
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07/06/24

Brazil LPG usage review due in Nov

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LPG World editorial: Force and momentum


04/06/24
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04/06/24

LPG World editorial: Force and momentum

An African LPG roadmap is to be launched with the aim of fostering a greater understanding of what is needed in specific locations around the continent London, 4 June (Argus) — Little clarity has emerged yet on how all of the funding pledges, initiatives and projects announced at the IEA's African clean cooking summit last month will be mobilised and monitored. But clean cooking's growing standing on the global agenda means it is likely to feature prominently at the forthcoming G20 and Cop 29 meetings on 18-19 and 11-22 November, hopefully preventing momentum from being lost. The World Liquid Gas Association's (WLGA) LPG Week in Cape Town, South Africa, will straddle both events over 18-22 November, and will have a strong clean cooking bent. The WLGA has collaborated with the IEA and other stakeholders in orchestrating last month's summit, and will continue to do so in the various endeavours arising in its aftermath. With this in mind, the association has established the Cooking For Life Africa Task Force (CFLA) to represent the industry, pooling the likes of TotalEnergies, Equinor, Petredec, Oryx Energies and S&P Global. The CFLA will communicate what the LPG industry is doing and the benefits it is providing in the region, WLGA chief advocacy officer Michael Kelly says. One of the force's first tasks will be to develop an "African LPG Roadmap", to be launched at Cop 29 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Primarily for policy makers and development agencies, the roadmap will establish the LPG market conditions in each sub-Saharan African country, "highlighting things like the number of cylinders, the regulatory architecture, challenges such as any infrastructure bottlenecks", Kelly says. The hope is that through better analysis and information sharing, a greater understanding of what is needed in specific locations will emerge, allowing investment to be channelled in the right direction. One of the ideas is to split sub-Saharan African countries into "three buckets", the first being the "low-hanging fruit" primed for LPG growth. "Maybe they're missing some infrastructure pieces, but the government knows what they are and is making investments, global players are willing to put their money in, and the population aspires to have LPG," Kelly says. The second bucket is more "transitional", with small LPG markets in urban centres but very little outside of this, while the third are those "where growth is going to take a while to take place". The roadmap will not be static, nor will the CFLA be, with plans to grow the task force and some WLGA members already showing an interest in joining, according to Kelly. The next steps will be to work on messaging prior to the G20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and at Cop 29, both of which are expected to have clean cooking high on the agenda. Kelly expects this to also be the case, possibly to an even greater degree, at Cop 30 in Belem, Brazil, and at the G20 meeting in South Africa a year later. Unequivocal endorsements One CFLA member, TotalEnergies — which distributes LPG in 22 African countries — has signalled its intent to spread clean cooking to hundreds of millions of Africansduring a recent WLGA webinar. "The IEA and the World Bank have unequivocally endorsed LPG as a crucial component of clean cooking… beyond 2030," the major's head of LPG business development Monzur Siddiqui says. For Siddiqui, three pillars are needed to support development of LPG markets in the region — the establishment of appropriate and properly enforced regulations, the affordability of LPG to consumers and the sustainability of the distribution models. The main growth enabler for fellow member Petredec's downstream head James Bullen will be infrastructure. The company is well versed in the issue, having set up the Mauritius and Richards Bay LPG terminals serving east Africa in 2014 and 2020. Investing in large-scale distribution systems has historically been lacking but if done right, can help LPG use spread more widely, he says — provided LPG is economically viable, always available and in the locations it is needed the most. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Southern Brazil's LPG market recovers after floods


04/06/24
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04/06/24

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