WALNG closes on Guinea LNG equity funding
The Guinea LNG import terminal project in Guinea-Conakry has been backed by an equity financing round from an unnamed US-based investor group, its operator West Africa LNG (WALNG) Group announced August 22.
WALNG, a corporate entity funded by development firm AfricaGlobalSchaffer, is constructing the facility following a memorandum of understanding for the $300mn phased LNG development struck with the government of Guinea-Conakry late last year.
Guinea-Conakry currently has no upstream oil or gas production, though it has been awarding exploration-stage contracts for offshore acreage. In the meantime, the government hopes to access gas from big LNG export projects elsewhere in West Africa in order to displace diesel and heavy fuels in its bauxite mineral mines, in a potential boon for intra-African energy trade.
Cheaper energy could allow Guinean companies to monetise more of these reserves, spurring economic development and improving local livelihoods. The country is estimated to hold a third of the world's known bauxite reserves. WALNG now hopes to clinch further financing with "strategic and financial investors," and is also holding talks with potential offtake customers.
To start with, Guinea LNG will bring "commercial" gas quantities to power generation plants in bauxite mine clusters, spread across Guinea's Boke, Bel-Air and Boffa regions. Power demand arising from bauxite plants within 100 miles of the proposed facility has been pegged at 2,000MW, in a feasibility study funded by the US Trade and Development Agency.
WLNG chairperson Patricia Moller, a former US ambassador to Guinea, said: "We are delighted to complete this investment which provides us with the necessary financial resources to fund our operating activities as we finalize long-term offtake agreements with the mining companies in Guinea.
"This financing also gives us greater flexibility as we negotiate with potential strategic and financial partners who have expressed strong interest in participating in the transformative Guinea LNG project."