MCB backs Senegal fuel oil-to-gas conversion
The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) announced on April 23 it was providing a $60mn loan to convert a 235-MW powership owned by Turkey's Karpowership from heavy fuel oil to natural gas.
The bank is providing the biggest commitment in a $140mn syndicated loan for the project and it also served as co-mandated lead arranger for the facility. The powership will receive gas from the Karmol LNGT Powership Africa FSRU, co-owned by Karpowership and Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL). The vessel is undergoing sea trials in Singapore ahead of its journal to Senegal. MOL said in March that the Powership would switch to gas by the end of June.
Senegal is transitioning from coal and oil-fired power plants to gas-based generation over the coming years, emboldened by several recent gas discoveries offshore. The government sees LNG imports as a temporary solution before offshore production starts up. The BP-led Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project off Senegal and Mauritania is expected to see first gas in 2023. The project will supply gas to the countries' domestic markets in addition to exporting LNG.
MCB said it supported Senegal's transition, adding that it had committed to stop financing new coal power plants next year.