Equatorial Guinea Calls for New Gas Investments
Equatorial Guinea's oil and mining ministry is dissatisfied by declining gas production. It is also threatening to dismantle the Marathon-operated methanol plant as part of a Punta Europa facilities upgrade, the African Energy Chamber said in a December 18 statement from the capital, Malabo.
“New investment is what is needed to continue to drive Equatorial Guinea forward. We are very pleased to be working with companies like Noble Energy, Kosmos Energy and Trident Energy, which remain committed to strong work programs and new opportunities for growth,” the minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima said.
The minister has repeatedly expressed discontent over Marathon Oil’s work programme and budget for exploration and production. Key assets such as the now-declining Alba offshore field which supplies the gas for methanol plant, which it operates with a 45% stake, need more investment. The methanol plant is to be dismantled and replaced with a modular refinery.
“The Punta Europa complex is the crown jewel in Equatorial Guinea’s gas processing infrastructure and is central to our long-term plans for gas monetisation. However, due to a lack of investment in the Alba field and the methanol plant, a modular refinery would be a more productive project for that space,” said the minister .
The ministry has commissioned a feasibility study to convert the methanol plant at Punta Europa as part of its gas hub project.
The first phase of the gas mega hub project is to implement a new gas supply agreement signed between the ministry and Noble Energy, operator of the Aseng and Alen fields in Block I/O. Gas will be supplied to the Punta Europa gas complex, which includes the Malabo power station, the methanol plant and the Equatorial Guinea LNG plant. The agreement, combined with new subsea pipelines linking the Aseng, Alen and Alba fields, will replace some of the gas production lost as the Alba field declines.