Equatorial Guinea Successfully Develops Offshore Gas "Mega Hub"
The West and Central African seaboard is synonymous with rich hydrocarbons deposits, and it has made the neighboring nations into the leading producers and exporters of crude oil in Africa. Equatorial Guinea - one of the smallest countries in this region – has made a name out of oil and gas exports and considered to be the third-largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Central African nation had a decade-long hydrocarbon boom starting in the late 1990s, when oil reserves were discovered, but it ran into economic stagnation in 2009 with declining international oil prices. As oil and gas extraction plateaued, the International Monetary Fund forecasted an economic contraction rate in the range of two to nine percent in 2015-2020 due to government’s fiscal consolidation reducing capital and investment spending.
With a view to generate more revenue from hydrocarbons production in the coming years, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons is trying to drive investment in undeveloped offshore gas resources. This strategy is contained in a program called Alen Gas Monetization project, led by Chevron’s Noble Energy Limited. The Alen Offshore gas platform forms the first phase of a new gas ‘mega-hub’ located approximately 17 nm off the coast of Bioka Island and represents a direct foreign investment of $475 million. The project is designed to harness previously unexploited gas deposits in the Gulf of Guinea region through a new offshore and onshore network of production, processing and transport facilities.
The project started in April 2019, when Noble Energy and its partners signed definitive agreements to develop the Offshore Alen field. It provides for monetization of 580 billion cubic feet of natural gas over six years. Its 40 nm pipeline allows gas from the Alen field to be processed through existing onshore facilities - the Alba LPG plant and Equatorial Guinea (EG) LNG complex at Punta Europa, Bioka Island.
Last week, Noble Energy EG Ltd. (Chevron Owned Company) announced the first gas flow from successful execution of the project
“As a company, we are proud to be a strategic partner in this joint effort, and we look forward to continue contributing to the economic and social development of the country,” said Gene Kornergay, Vice President and Country Manager of Noble Energy EG Ltd.
This creation of an offshore gas industry will facilitate cross-boundary linkages with gas projects in the neighboring countries, as discussions with Cameroon are at an advanced stage to create a monetization framework for gas resources in the Yoyo-Yolanda cross border field.
“It will drive the energy sector and by closing deals with Cameroon and Nigeria, we intend to incentivize the industry, drive economic growth, and generate revenues for regional government to help finance education, hospitals and infrastructure,” said Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Limo, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.