Equatorial Guinea minister announces gas megahub plans at London conference

The Equatorial Guinea minister for mines and hydrocarbons addresses a conference in London.HE Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea's minister for mines and hydrocarbons, announced plans to develop a "gas megahub" at the Africa Oil & Power Investor Forum, held today in London

 Yesterday, a signing ceremony was held to launch the Bioko Island project which comes with a tight timetable to be completed "by 2020 or even before", according to the minister. 

"This will prove to the world that Equatorial Guinea doesn't just talk," he told the conference. The project will be led by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons and a new gas supply agreement has been signed between the ministry and Noble Energy, which operates the Aseng and Alen fields. Gas will be supplied to the Punta Europa gas complex, which incorporates the AMPCO methanol plant, the Malabo power station and Equatorial Guinea LNG plant. This will be combined with new subsea pipelines to connect the Aseng, Aleng and Alba fields.

In an interview with Oil Review Africa, Minister Obiang Lima said that gas production is set to overtake oil in Equatorial Guinea and the megahub project demonstrates the country's commitment to gas in the west African region.

"There is a lot of gas in the neighbourhood and we will have the perfect infrastructure to receive gas and for drilling for more gas," he told Oil Review Africa. "The incentive is there to make gas more important than oil."

Minister Obiang Lima said the project will be completed in three phases and existing infrastructure means that it is "already 25 to 30 per cent ready to go."

The megahub will play an important role in leveraging stranded gas and developing the LNG sector in Equatorial Guinea, as part of a wider LNG to Africa initiative, involving Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana. Cameroon, South Sudan, Mozambique and Uganda. He told the conference that Korea is a model for the LNG sector, boosting access to electricity and petrochemical production.

"We need to create a market, we need to make money," he said, adding that smaller scale LNG projects could be effective for Equatorial Guinea.

In regard to the country's oil industry, Minister Obiang Lima told Oil Review Africa that Equatorial Guinea's membership of OPEC was important for gathering information and benefiting from the experience of fellow member nations, particularly for training and reviving declining fields. OPEC played a role in Equatorial Guinea's successful emergence from the oil price downturn and the minister praised cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC members during this period. He said that while US$70+ oil price is good news for industry stability, if it climbs above US$100, "we are back in the danger zone".

Additionally, he said that there are currently more opportunities for investors in Equatorial Guinea's upstream sector, rather than downstream, because of "new acreages, more evaluations and more drilling next year".

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