Guinea-Conakry Steps up its Hydrocarbon Strategy

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Famourou Kourouma, Managing Director of The Republic of Guinea’s Office National des Pétroles (ONAP), talks to Africa Energy Series- Senegal about the country’s strategy in the oil and gas sector.

What key factors led to the creation of an independent Ministry of Hydrocarbons in The Republic of Guinea?

The creation of the Ministry of Hydrocarbons followed a strong governmental will to highlight Guinea’s natural resources and implement a strong policy of hydrocarbons valorisation. ONAP’s role is to support the Ministry’s strategy by providing technical expertise on upstream and downstream operations. ONAP and the Ministry have full synergy in this sense.

Given recent discoveries and the potential in the MSGBC Basin, what is ONAP’s strategy to develop the petroleum sector, especially exploration activities?

Recent discoveries have contributed to our determination to pursue and reinforce our upstream sector. A number of world-renowned geoscientists have named our basin an ‘oil province’ potentially containing up to ten billion barrels of oil with a rock porosity between 18 and 25 percent. The probability of finding commercial discoveries are low at this point as there is a lack of crucial information in the Mezosoic petroleum system. ONAP needs to acquire significant 2-dimension (2D) and 3-dimension (3D) data and geological and geochemical studies onshore and offshore. Correlation of data across the basin is essential to shine the light of previously unveiled potential. Such a strategy necessitates strong cooperation and synergies throughout the basin – and justifies our choice to join the MSGBC Basin regional project. Currently, we have a team running inspections on 14 onshore blocks. Following this campaign, we will launch full-fledged data acquirement campaigns in chosen areas in collaboration with our geoscience partners.

What is the current development stage of the Kamsar refinery project?

Several companies have shown their interest in building a refinery in Kamsar or Boffa; some of them have even already drafted a feasibility study: Herman Trading Ltd from the United Kingdom, Société de Raffinage Guinéenne SA, and Switzerland-based Brahms Oil Refineries. The latter mentions scheduled production capacity of 10,000 barrels per day or 500,000 tons per year. Last July, the company presented the project to us, which is currently at the feasibility study stage. As for now, there have been no significant decisions which could allow us to establish a precise timeline regarding this project. Brahms Oil Refineries reckons the project necessitates a $250 million investment meaning a social and environmental study of impact will be run prior to the start of the works.

What plans does the ONAP have for the promotion of its upstream opportunities?

Our development plan includes international promotion through events abroad such as Africa Oil Week and exhibitions in Paris, London, and Houston. Our master plan for 2019 includes a number of these conferences in which we hope to sign contracts with a diversity of players – we also want to organise an MSGBC Basin event in Conakry in order to further increase our sector’s visibility. All these actions are supported by an attractive petroleum code and significant advances in transparency and governance to meet international standards, a crucial element to attract international investors. The Republic of Guinea is blessed with His Excellency President Alpha Conde, who positions the hydrocarbon sector as a matter of national pride and its development as a priority for the country’s economy.

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