It would seem a no-brainer that the Aje gas and condensate field, which reached first oil in May 2016, should have advanced to the stage of supplying natural gas to Lagos by mid-2021.
The field is strategically located 24 kilometres offshore Lagos where it should benefit from increasing local energy demand, particularly for gas which is viewed as a replacement fuel for diesel and commands a premium.
TOTALEnergies has opened an information office in the city of Pemba, in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique.
With this move, the company is gradually effecting a return, nine months after suspending its activities in the Afungi Peninsula, after an Islamist militant attack in the nearby town of Palma in March 2021, in which dozens of people were killed.
Afungi Peninsula is the site of TOTALEnergies’ proposed 13Million Tonnes Per Annum Liquefied Natural Gas LNG plant.
The new information office in Pemba is 125 kilometres south of the Palma district.
A multinational force comprising troops from Rwanda and soldiers from countries in the Southern African Development Commission (SADEC) region has repelled the insurgents from many of their bases in the province, but the rebels have spread out and now conduct guerilla-style attacks.
The office is expected to ease communication between interested parties in the LNG project.
Seven Egyptian Liquefied Natural Gas cargoes have been shipped to Turkey since October 2021, the same month that the latter country ended its contract with Nigerian LNG.
There are no indications that Botas, the Turkish state hydrocarbon company with which NLNG signed the expired contract, has a contract with Egypt.
Turkey and Egypt re-established formal diplomatic relations in early 2021, almost eight years after they were broken off following the military coup that ousted Egypt’s first Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
An S&P Platts Global report declares that Botas has held a number of tenders for spot LNG cargoes in recent months, and is believed to have secured some supplies although exact volumes and delivery dates are not clear.
“Turkey is set for record high gas demand in 2021 — of as much as 2 Trillion Cubic Feet — on the back of strong consumption in the power sector, and”, the S&P Platts report adds…” …it is facing the prospect of more of its long-term import contracts expiring in the near future …with one long-term LNG contract in place — with Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach — that is due to run until 2024, but otherwise has been taking cargoes mostly from the US and Qatar”.
Egypt is capitalizing on the surge in natural gas prices overseas by exporting the equivalent of around 1.6Billion cubic feet per day (1.6Bcf/d), from its two LNG Terminals.
“Egyptian gas has played a role in securing Europe’s energy needs … The liquefaction units are now operating at full capacity as we try to maximize our natural gas exports in light of the rise in international gas prices,” Tarik El Molla, the country’s Minister of Petroleum, said on the sidelines of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum ministerial meeting in Cairo.
At least 75 LNG shipments have been shipped so far in 2021 — a huge jump after having only shipped 24 during the whole of last year. As of the second week of November, more than eight gas shipments had departed from Egypt in 4TH Quarter 2021., data from S&P Global Platts indicate.
Egypt’s gas production fortunes slumped in the early to mid-2010s while domestic consumption rose, forcing the country to halt LNG export.
But in late 2015, ENI discovered Zohr, the giant gas field (> 22Tcf), in the deepwaters of the Mediterranean and gradually reclaimed its role as a net exporter of LNG. The country’s total natural gas output currently ranges between 6.5 and 7Bcf/d, Mr. Molla told the EMGF ministerial meeting.
GNL Golar and its partners Perenco and the National Hydrocarbons corporation SNH plan to increase floating LNG plant Hilli Episeyo’s yearly production capacity from 1.2Million to 1.4 Million tons in 2022.
The plant monetizes gas from the Sanaga Sud field, in MLHP-4 Block in the offshore area of the central Douala Basin.
Commissioned in 2018, FLNG Hilli Episeyo has 2.4Million tonnes of liquefaction capacity.
Golar says that the plant has delivered 100 percent commercial uptime since first gas in 2018.
According to the agreement binding the parties, Perenco and SNH have the option to increase the production capacity by an additional 200,000 tons yearly from January 2023 to 2026, which marks the end of the current contract.
Should the parties decide to go this route, they will confirm it in Q3-2022.
Perenco and SNH intend to assess the potential of two to three additional gas wells and start drilling them this year in a bid to increase the upstream capacity in 2022 in preparation for the production.
Italian operator ENI hasheld the naming and sail away ceremony of the Coral-Sul floating LNG (FLNG) at Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea.
The FLNG, which is part of the Coral South Project, will be now towed and moored at its operating site in the Rovuma basin offshore Mozambique. Production startup is expected in the second half of 2022, and it will contribute to increasing gas availability in a tight market.
FLNG treatment and liquefaction installation has a gas liquefaction capacity of 3.4Million tons per year (MTPA) and will put in production 450Billion cubic metres of gas from the giant Coral reservoir, located in the offshore Rovuma Basin.
Partners, with ENI, on the project, include ExxonMobil, CNPC, GALP, KOGAS, and ENH. The event took place, in the presence of the Mozambican President, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, and Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea.
The Coral South Project achieved Final Investment Decision in 2017, only 36 months after the last appraisal well. “FLNG fabrication and construction activities started in 2018 and were completed on cost and on time, despite the pandemic”, ENI says in a statement. While performing the construction activities in Korea, several significant activities were undertaken in Mozambique, with full support from the Mozambican Authorities, including the ultra-deepwater (2000 metres water depth) drilling and completion campaign that involved the highest technological and operational skills and equipment.
“The Coral South Project will generate significant Government takes for the Country while creating more than 800 new jobs during the operation period.
“The Coral Sul FLNG is 432 metres long and 66 metres wide, weighs around 220,000 tons, and has the capacity to accommodate up to 350 people in its eight-story Living Quarter module. Once the FLNG facility will be in place, the installation campaign will begin, including mooring and hook-up operations at a water depth of around 2,000 metres by means of 20 mooring lines that totally weigh 9,000 tons.
About Area 4
Area 4 is operated by Mozambique Rovuma Venture S.p.A. (MRV), an incorporated joint venture owned by Eni, Exxon Mobil, and CNPC, which holds a 70 percent interest in the Area 4 exploration and production concession contract. In addition to MRV, Galp, KOGAS, and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos E.P. each hold a 10 percent interest in Area 4. ENI is the offshore Delegated Operator and is leading the construction and operation of the floating liquefied natural gas facility on behalf of MRV.
Cameroon’s Bipaga Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant, owned and operated the country’s National Hydrocarbons Corporation (SNH), supplied 25,092 metric tons (MT) of LPG to the local market in 2020, representing 16.93% of the national supply, according to SNH data.
In 2021, this supply could rise to 34,000 MT, due particularly to the optimization of the natural gas (from Sanaga Sud) treatment process, the SNH adds.
But the country consumes around 150,000MT per year.
Since Cameroon became a natural gas producer in 2018, then it has been processing part of its production to supply households.
The Bipaga LPG depot, indeed, was commissioned in the same year. However, its production is currently unable to meet local demand. So, the country resorts to imports to fill the gas demand. For instance, to cover the needs this year, the country plans to import 120,000 metric tons of domestic gas.
The sale of nearly 90% of the production of the Mozambique LNG project has been secured by long-term contracts for delivery to customers in Asia and Europe, according to TOTALEnergies, operator of the 13Million Metric Tonne Project.
“Part of the remaining gas is expected to be kept for the domestic market in order to contribute to the country’s economic development. The first LNG shipments are expected in 2024”, TOTALEnergies explains in a briefing.
But even if TOTALEnergies was ready to set aside more gas for the country’s domestic market, the government wasn’t exactly bullish about pushing homegrown natural gas utilization.
As the country became surer about the likelihood of Final Investment Decision (FID) for the two massive LNG projects, (28Million Tons Per Year in total), the government selected several initiatives that would benefit from the domestic gas that the LNG partners were obliged to make available to the state. But all of the project promoters have been forced on the backfoot.
The Norwegian fertilizer company Yara International, which had been given the nod to build a petrochemicals plant supplied with gas from TOTAL operated Area 1 (after development), has since left, after raising several concerns about the slow pace of regulatory discussions between it and the authorities. Even if the gas was not going to be available until the first cargo of LNG is exported, there needed to be a framework. But the government’s wholesale focus on the export has sucked out all the energy in the room.
Anglo Dutch Shell’s plan to construct a Gas to Liquid Plant with the same Cabo Delgado gas was also stalled. So, Shell has left, as has GL Africa Energy, which won the bid for a 250-MW gas-fired power station. The three projects were meant to process at least 411 Million standard cubic feet of gas a day (411MMscf/d) after the commencement of the LNG production, with job opportunities.
TOTALEnergies is mulling the possibility of returning to construction site on the massive gas project in Mozambique by the first half of 2022.
“We are in constant discussion with them (TOTALEnergies)”, says Francesco Caio, CEO of Saipem, a key contractor on the project: a 13Million Metric Tonne Per Annum Liquefaction Plant in the north of the country. “The hypothesis, obviously depending on the evolution of the situation in the country, is that work can be resumed in the first half of next year”.
Caio says that the project in Mozambique, which is the largest in which Saipem is currently involved, “remains in the order book as of June 30, 2021 for an amount of approximately 3.6Billion euros with a reshaping of construction times”.
TOTALEnergies declared the force majeure on the LNG Mozambique project on April 26, 2021, citing security reasons. The operator and its contractors evacuated the site.
Since then, however, the Mozambican government has boosted security by engaging the Rwandan army as well as the entire Southern Africa Development Commission, initiatives which have led to the deployment of military troops from South Africa, Botswana, Angola, and Malawi. President Fillipe Nyusi is keen on getting TOTALEnergies back to the project site on the Afungi Peninsula, for Africa’s largest ongoing gas processing plant. And despite the challenges, the French major itself has not taken the project off its radar.
“TOTALEnergies has always anticipated to us that this suspension would have lasted a minimum of 12 months”, says Maurizio Coratella, Saipem’s Chief Operating Officer of the Onshore Engineering and Construction Division. “The suspension started in the mid of April 2021. Therefore, all our numbers are reflecting a resumption of activities in the first quarter of 2022”.
…But Mocímboa da Praia has changed hands more than once…
Mozambican authorities are claiming to have “conquered” a key stronghold of Al Shabab, the Islamic insurgent group whose activities have forced a hold up of Africa’s largest single gas project.
The Portuguese news agency, LUSA, citing several Mozambican official sources but not naming any, reports that a joint operation by Mozambican and Rwandan forces resulted in the occupation of the main positions of armed groups around the town of Mocímboa da Praia, the insurgents’ “headquarters”, located in the province of Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country.
“The joint force occupied the positions of the insurgents in Awasse and Diaca, in Mocímboa da Praia, having seized various war material from the rebels and killed several members of the armed groups”, LUSA reports, citing “sources, linked to the Ministry of Defence of Mozambique”.
LUSA reports that “after the joint force operations, Bernardino Rafael, General Commander of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique, visited the locality of Awasse, where he assured that the intention is to remain in the occupied points”.
Islamic insurgents have killed hundreds of people and turned thousands to refugees in towns and villages located in the Cabo Delgado province and close to the Afungi Peninsula, where the TOTALEnergies operated 13 Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum Liquefied Natural Gas project is sited.
In late March 2021, the insurgents made their most sweeping attack on the neighbouring Palma town, just when TOTALEnergies’ workers returned to site in Afungi to continue construction.
“They want to intimidate us”, President Filipe Nyusi, Moazmbique’s head of state and government said a in a speech two weeks after the incident, declaring war. “Following the attack on the town of Palma, the situation in Cabo Delgado has received a lot of national and international attention. All of this attention is legitimate,” the President said. “This town and the adjacent Afungi peninsula are close to the natural gas deposits. It is in this region where the foundations for the exploitation of this resource so important to our economy are being laid”.
General Rafael told the media:“The tendency is to improve even more in those points where the Defence and Security Forces, together with the Rwandan forces, are conquering”. He said that “the terrorists vandalised several infrastructure Bernardino Rafael told the media, with an emphasis on the electricity grid”.
The coastal town of Mocímboa da Praia, located 70 kilometres south of the gas project site, had been invaded and occupied for a day by insurgents on March 23 2020, and was the theatre of clashes between Mozambican troops and the Jihadists several times over and over up until December 2020, when the insurgents firmly held it, only to be repulsed again by government forces.
But the offensive from the state is different this time, aided, as it is, by the battle hardened, thousand strong Rwandan soldiers and police officers, fighting since the beginning of July 2021. The East African warriors, who are fighting under the auspices of a bilateral agreement between the Maputo and the Kigali, are expected to be soon joined by troops from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), consisting of contingents from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Angola and Malawi, under a mandate from a “joint force on alert” approved on June 23, at an extraordinary summit of the organization in Maputo.