Ivory Coast, Senegal to join the LNG import party

May 29, 2015 12:00 AM

West Africa’s proposed LNG terminals.
West Africa’s proposed LNG terminals.

West Africa – sub-Saharan Africa’s largest LNG exporting region – is set to become its largest importer too, as Ivory Coast and Senegal have announced plans to join Ghana in installing FSRUs to meet their burgeoning power needs.

Endeavor Energy has partnered with Ivorian company Starenergie2073 for a 375 MW LNG-to-power project that will run along a similar model to its planned 1.1 GW project in Ghana. In Senegal, state-owned utility Senelec has signed a preliminary deal with Japan’s Mitsui and Qatar’s Nebras Power to build an FSRU and 400 MW power station.

Endeavor’s Songon power project will be based outside Abidjan, the capital, and will include the development of purpose-built LNG import infrastructure and an FSRU.

While the first the €900 million ($990 million) phase of the project will include the construction of 375 MW of generation capacity, Endeavor is ultimately looking to expand this to GW, Chief Executive Sean Long told Interfax on Wednesday.

The Texas-based company has already entered into a long-term power purchase agreement with the government and "will provide power cheaper than any other thermal power plant not running on indigenous gas", according to Long. An FID is expected in December 2015.

Ivory Coast has been forced to turn to LNG imports as its domestic gas production is declining. While there is potential to develop more offshore reserves – including the Mahi and Manta gas fields in CI-27, as well as other reserves in the CI-01 block – supply is insufficient to keep pace with power demand, which rose by an average of 6% per year from 2003 to 2012.

Potential suppliers

Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. has already expressed interest in supplying LNG to Ivory Coast. "[Ivory Coast] has requested that we bring gas to them first as LNG and ultimately by extension of the [West Africa Gas] pipeline. What this means is that in the future we don’t have to go as far as Europe or Asia to supply LNG when we can do so next door," David Ige, director of the company’s gas group, said in a statement in March.

Senegal’s proposed LNG-to-power project is less advanced, with Senelec signing a memorandum of understanding for the FSRU and power station on Wednesday.

"The objective of the Senegalese government is to boost the country’s growth by a steady power supply at a competitive cost," Senelec said in a statement. At the moment, the country relies on heavy fuel oil and diesel to run the majority of its power plants.

Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to turn to LNG to meet its gas shortage. Two FSRU projects are proposed along its coast, with an FID on the most advanced of these – Quantum Power’s Tema FSRU in the east of the country – expected in the next two months.

Quantum is in negotiations with suppliers for 1.8 mtpa of LNG and the company is about to announce its engineering, procurement and construction contractor, Edwin Ehrlich, the company’s business development manager, told Interfax in May. The FSRU vessel, which will be supplied by Golar LNG, is under construction in South Korea. First imports are expected in Q1 2016.

Meanwhile, Endeavor, along with partners General Electric and Paris-based holding company Finagestion, is aiming for an FID on its 1.1 GW gas-to-power project based in Aboadze in September.

Endeavor has just appointed BMT Africa Pacific as owner engineer and lead design consultant for the FSRU. Excelerate Energy will provide the vessel, while Shell will supply the LNG.

Endeavor expects to complete the first 125 MW phase of the 1.1 GW project by late 2016. The plant’s capacity is planned to be expanded to 750 MW by 2018, and to the full 1.1 GW capacity within five years.

Meanwhile, London-listed Gasol has signed a long-term agreement to supply 2.8 million cubic metres of gas per day to Ghana’s Volta River Authority from an FSRU, which it plans to install in Cotonou harbour in neighbouring Benin.

South Africa is likely to be the next country on the continent to launch an LNG-to-power project. The Department of Energy is planning to launch its gas-fired independent power producer programme this year and LNG is the only viable supply option for fuelling these stations. FSRUs could be set up at the Richards Bay and Saldanha Bay ports, based on current studies by the Transnet National Ports Authority.

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