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Equatorial Guinea floating LNG set for 2019

The floating LNG scheme could aid the development of remote gasfields around the continent

In a move which could advance the development of numerous remote gasfields around Africa, UK company Ophir is moving ahead with a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) scheme for fields offshore Equatorial Guinea. The company and the US floating LNG specialist Excelerate Energy have signed an agreement with the government on terms, targeting the start of exports in 2019.

Excelerate Energy is to build, own and operate a floating liquefaction, storage and offloading vessel (FLSO) for the development, and will head an engineering group which is expected to include Samsung Heavy Industries and Black & Veatch. Upstream interests are Ophir with 80% and the state’s GEPetrol with 20% (carried until a declaration of commerciality), but Ophir says it plans to bring in a farm-in partner in 2015. 

Ophir’s schedule calls for the front-end engineering and design (Feed) contract for the FLSO facility to be awarded by the end of 2014, with the upstream Feed following in early-2015. The final investment decision is due to be taken in 2016.

The development, named Fortuna LNG, is due to produce up to 3.0 million tonnes a year of LNG for 20 years. The FLSO facility will be moored in Block R, about 140 km west of Bioko island and close to large fields in the Nigerian offshore. Water-depth at location is 1,600 metres, the metocean conditions are benign and said to be ideal for floating LNG facilities, and the gas is dry so there is no condensate to extract and transport.

Ophir estimates that Block R holds 96.3 billion cubic metres (cm) of recoverable gas, in discoveries and adjacent de-risked structures. Initially the Fortuna field, holding 36.8bn cm, will be developed, with subsequent phases bringing-in the Silenus complex (34.0bn cm), the Tonel field (14.2bn cm) and smaller discoveries (11.3bn cm). The fields are in a compact area, with Fortuna and Silenus lying only 5 km apart and Tonel lying about 15 km to the northeast of them.  

In October, Ophir carried out a production-test at Fortuna to establish deliverability. The firm says the Fortuna-2 well flowed an equipment-limited 1.7m cm/d with “minimal” pressure draw-down. The result suggests the number of production wells required could be reduced from the seven assumed initially, trimming the cost of the development. 

Excelerate Energy says its Evolution FLSO concept - a vessel with a Black & Veatch Prico liquefaction system and 250,000 cm of LNG storage capacity - is a cost-competitive means of developing remote gas fields, requiring no shore-based utilities. First LNG can be achieved 44 months after the final investment decision, the firm claims. If the 2019 start-up target is met, Fortuna LNG could be Africa’s first floating LNG development, overtaking the Coral South LNG development which Eni is planning for Mozambique.

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