Previous gas discoveries in Mauritania, coupled with the government's efforts to put gas at the heart of economic growth and poverty reduction, have positioned the northwest African country as a global gas hub.
Since the 2014 gas discovery by U.S.-based Kosmos Energy, Mauritania has become a new exploration playground with bp, TotalEnergies and Shell launching exploration activities that have led to significant discoveries and new interest from gas majors to expand their investments in the market. Discoveries such as the 15 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves made by bp and Kosmos Energy on the Mauritanian-Senegalese maritime border, which have led to the development of the $4.8 billion Grand Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the first phase of which will produce up to 2.5 million metric tons (mtpa) of gas per year, are changing the game in the Mauritanian energy market.
With the finalization of the investment decision for phases two and three of the GTA project, Mauritania's gas sector is well positioned to meet both its local energy needs and regional and global energy demands. bp says it will be able to produce 10 mtpa of LNG over a period of 30 to 50 years in the GTA once all three phases are completed, underscoring the importance of Mauritania's gas market in ensuring global energy reliability for years to come.
In addition, with bp, Kosmos Energy and Mauritania's national oil company, Société Mauritanienne Des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier (SMHPM), planning to begin development of the BirAllah conventional gas initiative in Block C8 to produce approximately 277 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of natural gas and 1,304 mmcfd of LNG from 2028 to 2060, Mauritania's gas sector is headed for further expansion.
Meanwhile, as the government prepares to publish its gas master plan, encourage onshore gas developments in the Taoudenni basin, and seek investment to develop refineries, an opportunity has arisen for the country to exploit its gas resources to combat energy poverty while reducing the country's dependence on energy imports from neighboring countries.
In addition, Mauritania is currently negotiating exploration licenses for 19 offshore blocks to increase its energy capacity and is seeking investment in pipeline and port infrastructure development to monetize the country's gas reserves. Mauritania's plan to strengthen its maritime transport and logistics by making the port city of Nouadhibou a hub for gas processing, import and export is a major step toward these goals. As Europe seeks alternative gas suppliers to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, Mauritania's strategic location and proximity to Europe make it an ideal energy partner for the European Union, creating new opportunities for the country to enhance the monetization of gas for economic growth.
"Mauritania is poised to become a major player in the global natural gas supply chain with projects such as GTA and BirAllah making progress. Having prioritized frontier exploration and reforming its regulatory environment to create a more conducive business climate for foreign companies, the country is expected to see an influx of new investment that will help launch its gas revolution. In 2022, and at the continent's premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW), we look forward to the signing of new agreements that will accelerate gas development in Mauritania," said NJ Ayuk, executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC).
AEW 2022, to be held October 18-21, 2022 in Cape Town under the theme "Exploring and Investing in Africa's Energy Future while Fostering an Enabling Environment," will discuss how Mauritania can accelerate projects such as GTA and BirAllah. accelerate the growth of its energy market to improve electrification while accelerating socio-economic growth. AEW 2022 will host roundtables and high-level meetings to discuss the role that African gas plays in the continent's and the world's energy future.
Distributed by APO Group for African Energy Chamber.