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A few weeks ago, a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier sailed into Saldanha Bay having received, a few days earlier, a shipment of gas from a large gas carrier while in the Indian Ocean off the Mozambican port of Beira. The arrival of Botafogo Gas in Saldanha Bay attracted little attention, but it was almost certainly a landmark, even historic, development towards the dawn of a full South African gas economy. Natural gas and its refinery derivative, LPG, are plentiful, affordable and clean (gas emits about 50% less CO² than coal). But whereas the world relies on gas to provide over 20% of its energy needs, the figure for SA is lower, at about 3%. And, within the country, there are considerable geographic variances, the Western Cape using far less than the national figure at about 3kg-4kg per person a year. To put that number into perspective, Brazil and Malaysia, similar developing countries, consume eight times and 13 times as much LPG per capita, respectively. The good news, how...

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