Last week, the African Energy Chamber held a bilateral discussion with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, led by H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, alongside the Director of Hydrocarbons, Robustiano Eyegue Ndong and NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.
The Chamber sought to understand the state of the hydrocarbon sector in the country and was briefed by the Minister and the Director on immediate and near-term plans by the Ministry.
Equatorial Guinea has moved its Year of Investment program to 2021, with plans to add many more investments opportunities and projects, while taking into consideration the challenges of Covid-19. For instance, the Ministry is continuing its mining drive-in with a strong focus on the mainland and expects to drive new mining programs in 2021.
The Minister agreed with the Chamber that Covid-19 has been a great disruptor to the energy sector. The Chamber urges the Equatorial Guinean government to continue working with oil and gas operators to find ways to ensure operations continue.
The Minister advised the Chamber that the rapid development of the Alen unitization project operated by Noble Energy will be delayed until 2021. This is liquid-rich gas and condensate field is located in Block O, about 32km off the east coast of Bioko Island, in Equatorial Guinea. However, the Alen backfill gas project into EGLNG remains on track, with the project scheduled to come online in the first quarter of 2021.
When pressed on the rapid approval of Chevron acquisition of Noble Energy, the Minister advised the Chamber that the Ministry is currently studying the transaction as it pertains to Equatorial Guinea and will respond in due course taking into consideration compliance with the laws and regulations of the country as well as binding legal instruments like the Production Sharing Contract.
On the Gas Mega Hub, the Chamber was informed that Equatorial Guinea has contracted UK-based firm Gas Strategies to continue working on a revised Gas Master Plan as the Minister believes it is an important step towards the country developing a timely, economic and equitable plan for to monetise gas, and with a clear vision towards having a Gas Mega Hub anchored around Punta Europa.
The Chamber commends the development of gas, as LNG stands to be a game changer in the local, regional and international energy markets. It also puts Equatorial Guinea in line with other members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, of which Equatorial Guinea is a member, when it comes to monetizing gas.
The Minister advised that exploration activity is still ongoing in the country, with Kosmos Energy likely to proceed with a drilling campaign in 2022. Furthermore, Trident Energy started a 4D seismic survey over its Block G assets, which contain the Ceiba and Okume fields offshore with a potential to drill three wells in 2021.
Finally, the Ministry is engaged in discussions with Venezuelan state company PDVSA on the upstream and the downstream sector.
“Equatorial Guinea is an important oil and gas player and continues to be a great partner in advancing the relationships with investors while promoting local content. The Chamber welcomes this dialogue and we remain committed to more engagements with African energy leaders because this is vitally important to the private sector.” said NJ Ayuk
“The African Energy Chamber, supported by leading energy companies, is confident that by working together, we will ensure win-win opportunities as well as engage candidly on serious issues with African governments. These frank, no-holds-barred conversations concerning our energy industry can guide African governments to create an enabling environment that is effective for investors and citizens alike.” concluded Ayuk
The African Energy Chamber periodically holds bilateral discussions with governments and institutions on energy issues in Africa. These discussions are important for leaders and investors to engage in discussions of the most important economic and commercial issues, including investment in oil and gas, infrastructure development, local content, and enabling policies that make in country operations better.