With the departure in January 20 of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel from China, the MSGBC basin’s first hydrocarbon production is officially drawing near, opening up new opportunities for broader economic growth in the region.
The MSGBC is an acronym for the countries in which the basin resides, namely Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry.
The announcement was made by project partners bp and Technip Energy. The vessel is headed towards the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA), an offshore LNG project based on upstream gas production in 2 km-deep waters on the maritime border of Mauritania and Senegal.
The FPSO’s departure follows three years of construction and successful sea trials. The facility comprises eight processing and production modules, and will process up to 500 million standard cubic feet of gas (mmscfd), as well as the produce 2.3 million tons of LNG per annum (mtpa) as part of the GTA’s first phase of development. In its second phase, this figure will increase twofold, with up to 10 mtpa set to be produced.
The 270-m-long, 54-m-wide and 31.5-m-deep vessel can accommodate 140 people onboard.
Commenting on the achievement, Gordon Birrell, Executive Vice-President of Production and Operations of bp, stated: "This is a fantastic milestone for this important project, which is a great example of bp’s resilient hydrocarbon strategy in action. With the continued support of our partners, Societé Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures (SMHPM) in Mauritania, Petrosen in Senegal and Kosmos Energy, we remain committed to helping both countries to develop their world-class resources in a sustainable way."
Marco Villa, COO, Technip Energies, added: "This significant milestone demonstrates our project execution excellence with the highest standards of safety and quality. We would like to thank bp and their partners for their trust and we are looking forward to continuing the GTA FPSO journey with the next phases of the project taking place in Senegal and Mauritania."
WIDER ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
The GTA is considered the largest hydrocarbon development underway in the region, and is on track for first production by Q3 this year.
It is being jointly developed by operator bp, Kosmos Energy, Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines, Senegal’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energies, as well as Mauritania’s National Oil Company (NOC) SMHPM and Senegal’s NOC Petrosen. Technip Energies has been awarded the engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning contract,
The project is set to transform the regional energy space by introducing a long-term and viable supply of natural gas, thereby opening up opportunities for power generation, industrialisation and revenue generation via exports. Up to 15 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable reserves will be maximised at a time when global stakeholders are looking at capitalising on African gas resources.
Quickly following the start of the GTA, Senegal’s pioneer oil development, the 100,000-barrel per day Sangomar Project, is also set to see first production, further solidifying the commitment of both the energy majors involved and regional governments.
In early December 2022, project developer Woodside Energy announced that an FPSO vessel meant for the Sangomar Phase 1 Field Development has completed construction, and that production from the field was on track for late-2023.
With these developments, a new era of energy security is in sight for the region at a time when global markets are in a constant state of volatility.
For Africa, first production at the GTA and Sangomar will kickstart industrialisation and electrification, triggering opportunities across multiple sectors of the economy.
For the global energy sector, this will bring online a new supply of oil and gas.
What’s more, the success of both GTA and Sangomar are set to create a ripple effect of project takeoffs across the region, with project developers hoping to mirror the success of these pioneering projects.
Notably, GTA’s neighboring development, the 13 tcf Mauritania-based BirAllah project – representing the largest deepwater gas discovery of 2019 – has long been slated as a follow up to the GTA project itself. Following first production from the GTA, interest is expected to turn to BirAllah, with project developers looking towards a final investment decision (FID).
Similarly, the bp-Kosmos partnership has earmarked this year for the securing of the FID of Senegal’s 20 tcf Yakaar-Teranga project, a promising new development located in the Cayer Profond Block to the south of the GTA.