SA could be sanctioned for Russian gas deal – experts
Publish date: 27 November 2023
Issue Number: 1055
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Experts warn that SA could forfeit several investment opportunities and face international sanctions if it pushes ahead with a deal with Russia’s Gazprombank, a Rapport report notes. Last week amaBhungane reported that PetroSA is considering Gazprombank as preferred partner to get its gas plant in Mossel Bay back in service. In terms of that proposed deal, Gazprombank would provide $196.6m and liquid gas to SA until gas resources are developed locally. In exchange, Gazprombank would share in PetroSA’s profits. Chatham House’s Samantha de Bendern said the larger Gazprom company is firmly in the grip of President Vladimir Putin. She said Gazprombank is subject to sanctions by the US, while Gazprom CEO and chairperson of Gazprombank, Alexei Miller, is sanctioned by the UK, EU and US. Miller is accused of money-laundering on behalf of Putin. Independent energy expert Niall Kramer said the mooted deal has geopolitical undertones. ‘If SA is serious about exploiting gas resources as Minister Gwede Mantashe says, it should be careful about its partners,’ he said. Kramer says the majority of leading gas companies are listed in Western countries and may want to be hesitant to do business with SA if it is in partnership with a sanctioned entity.