Regional Collaboration Drives Natural Gas Developments in the MSGBC Region

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The MSGBC basin comprises five African countries: Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea Conakry. Initial large discoveries in this geological region, specifically in Mauritania and Senegal, have sparked interest in the hydrocarbon potential of these countries over the past five years. Indeed, the combined natural gas resource potential of the two countries is estimated at 102 Trillion Cubic Feet of Gas Initially in Place (63tcf for Mauritania and 39tcf for Senegal.) This is substantially more than the local market of the two countries would require for future power and non-power gas applications, allowing room for exportation and economic growth.

Developments such as the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) gas field development project, which straddles the offshore waters of Mauritania and Senegal, provide the perfect opportunity to explore this potential. Furthermore, this project represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collaboration and partnership between two African countries and international oil and gas businesses, BP and Kosmos Energy, in a potentially new African natural gas province.

The GTA gas development project focuses on a floating liquefied natural gas export project that will allow the discovered gas resources to be monetized quickly and in stages. This would make natural gas supplies available not only for export, but also for Mauritania’s and Senegal’s domestic energy markets.

The GTA gas field, which is 120 km from the coast, includes two gas reservoirs 2,000 meters beneath the seabed and 15 trillion cubic feet of potentially exploitable natural gas reserves. The unprocessed gas will be transported from the field to a Floating Production and Storage Offload (FPSO) vessel capable of handling condensate and with a processing capacity of 500 MMscf/d. The gas is then piped from the FPSO to the floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, which is moored to a new near-shore breakwater. The FLNG unit has a design capacity of 2.45 mtpa, or little over 3 Bcm of gas per year, which is enough to cover Phase 1 of the project.

In its initial phase, the $4.8 billion project is expected to produce 2.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas yearly and 70 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, split evenly between Senegal and Mauritania.

The commissioning of Phase 1 of the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim gas project was originally planned for 2022. BP issued a force majeure claim to Golar LNG in early April 2020, alleging that ‘due to the current outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) over the world, BP is unable to be ready to receive the floating liquefied natural gas facility “GIMI” on the intended connection date in 2022′.

“GTA operations are severely affected by COVID-19, and the 2020 weather window for installation works can no longer be met, resulting in a delay of around one year,” BP noted in its 2020 second quarter results presentation on August 4, 2020. (30.06.2020 BP SEA (Q2)

Fifty-eight percent of the first phase was completed in the first quarter of 2021 and it is expected to reach 80% by the end of the year. So far, all 310 kilometers of line pipe have been constructed and coated, the FPSO Hull was launched in April, the FLNG facility entered fifth drydock, which will integrate the final 8 sponsons, and 5 caissons were constructed.

In the operational update Kosmos provided on the 6th of July 2021, Andrew G. Inglis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, stated that “In Mauritania and Senegal, the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project continued to make steady progress during the quarter with key milestones achieved across all major workstreams. However, we are seeing cost inflation and supplier delays in the current environment together with some scope growth and, as a result, we are updating our estimates, with first gas now expected in the third quarter of 2023. Tortue is the right project at the right time with Phases 1 & 2 expected to deliver attractive returns in a strengthening LNG market.” ( Kosmos Energy Operational Update | Kosmos Energy)

Kosmos confirmed on the 9th of August in a press release parallel to its quarterly report that the GTA FPSO sale and leaseback transaction was completed successfully. After this transaction is completed, the Company will strive to complete the refinancing of the National Oil Company loans.

The report for the second quarter of 2021 included the following achieved milestones: concerning the FPSO vessel, the living quarters were installed; as for the Floating LNG vessel, the final dry dock has been completed with the integration of the four remaining sponsons. Seven caissons have now, additionally, been transported offshore with three caissons installed and all of the subsea trees have been built.

Phases 2 and 3 are each expected to have a 3.75 mtpa LNG production capacity. In total, the three phases of the GTA LNG project would create a 10-mtpa LNG hub. The additional two phases’ pre-front end engineering design work has already been completed. Phases 2 and 3 would necessitate an extension of the project’s FPSO capacity if executed, as the existing 500 MMscf/d FPSO capacity is only enough to cover Phase 1. Furthermore, for Phases 2 and 3, instead of the FLNG option being developed, stationary platforms in shallow waters are being considered.

Additional LNG hubs

Two further LNG hubs were previously considered to develop and monetize other natural gas resources discovered in Mauritania and Senegal, in addition to the approximately 10 mtpa GTA ‘LNG hub’ with its three phases. These include the YakaarTeranga project in Senegal and the Bir Allah project in Mauritania

Gas would be delivered to the Yakaar/Teranga ‘LNG hub’ from the Yakaar and Teranga gas fields in Senegal’s Cayar deep-offshore block. Initially, around 25 Tcf of gas was present in these fields. This LNG project would have a total LNG capacity of roughly 10 million tons per annum.

The second proposed LNG hub would be in the Bir Allah area of Mauritania’s C8 block, which is believed to have roughly 50 Tcf of GIIP. This area has significantly more gas potential than the GTA or Yakaar/Teranga gas fields. This standalone Mauritania LNG project, like the Senegalese LNG hub, would have an ultimate LNG capacity of roughly 10 mtpa.

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Jasser Hammami

Jasser Hammami

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