Africa Oil & Gas Project Watch: North Africa

Part one of our new series on African oil & gas projects takes us to the continent’s Northern reaches.

Home to some major players in oil & gas, not just regionally but worldwide, North Africa is full of developments. Here, we take a look at 5 of the most interesting projects the region has to offer, including those underway, nearing completion or coming in the near future.

5 must-see North Africa oil & gas projects

Tahir Petrochemicals Complex, Egypt

Location: Ain Sokhna, Egypt
Timeframe: 2019-2022
Cost: $11bn

In order to cut down on imports of refined oil and petrochemical products, Egypt is investing in what will become the Middle East’s largest petrochem facility. 

Tahir Petrochemicals Complex, an $11bn development lead by independent Carbon Holdings, has huge production potential. At its peak, 1.5m tons of ethylene will be manufactured at Tahir, then converted into 1.35m tons of polyethylene. That is not all.

“Ethylene is only 45% of our total production,” said Basil El-Baz, chairman and CEO of Carbon Holdings, speaking at a press conference on 19 July. “We produce a lot of other products, which is what makes these facilities extremely interesting for the manufacturing sector; the ability to get into the rubbers, nylons, and vinyls, not just the ethylene and propylene derivatives.”

The complex itself will be split into 3 parts: a naphtha cracker, three polystyrene units and 3 polypropylene units. Numerous offsites and utilities are planned, such as 300 MW power plant for electricity.

A total of 48 project agreements and contracts have been signed so far. Internationals are playing a big role in bringing Tahir to life. For instance, EPC contracts have been awarded to Maire Tecnimont, the Archirodon Group, and Drake & Scull. Other multinationals involved include Foster Wheeler and KBR, while Germany’s Linde Group will be providing chemical consultancy services.

Jorf Lasfar LNG Terminal, Morocco

Location: Jorf Lasfar, Al Jadida, Morocco
Timeframe: 2018-onward
Cost: $4.6bn

Moroccan authorities aim to boost LNG’s energy sector share to 13% by 2025. It’s hoped the Jorf Lasfar LNG Terminal, sitting on the country’s Atlantic coast, will help achieve this goal.

This project will involve the building of two new gas turbine power plants, each boasting a capacity of 1200 MW, a complete LNG terminal fuelled by the Magrheb-Europe pipeline, and a regasification unit at the port of Jorf Lasfar. 

Planned storage capacity at the regasification site is an estimated 5bn cubic metres. In order to accommodate this fresh facility, a fitted marine jetty and high-pressure gas transmission pipes will be constructed too.

This has been a long gestating project, but Jorf Lasfar got a boost when Morocco’s energy minister Aziz Rabbah launched the first tender in October 2018. As many as 80 international groups are interested in securing Jorf Lasfar’s EPC contracts, valued at a cool $4.6bn.

South Tunisia Gas Pipeline

Location: 370km stretch in South Tunisia
Timeframe: 2015-2019
Cost: $1.6bn

Tunisian NOC ETAP and Austria’s OMV are behind this 370km pipeline, which forms part of ETAP’s 2013-2020 investment programme.

The South Tunisia Gas Pipeline draws from the Nawara group of gas fields. It falls under Tunisia’s desire to reduce the need for imported gas, by providing a reliable supply source for its gas-fired power stations. For context, 90% of Tunisian energy is generated by gas power plants, and 50% of gas is imported.

Across the pipeline’s route, it passes through 12 switching stations, in accordance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers standards. Once fully up and running by the end of 2019, the pipeline will hold an annual capacity of 3.65bn cubic metres. Gas will be condensed before transmission, ultimately being picked up for treatment at a $1bn facility in Gabés further north.

Much like Egypt’s Tahir Petrochemical Complex, the SGTP has attracted significant international attention. As well as joint-venture partner OMV, foreign firms involved in the design and construction of the pipeline include Italy’s Enerco SpA, and turnkey service specialist Max Streicher.

Zohr Gas Field Ramp up to Plateau

Location: Zohr Gas Field, Mediterranean Sea
Timeframe: 2019-onwards
Cost: $1.2bn

Saipem S.p.A. and Petrobel have negotiated an offshore contract addendum worth more than $1.2 billion tied to the “Ramp Up to Plateau” phase of the supergiant Zohr gas field offshore Egypt.

According to Saipem, the current addendum to the E&C work includes installation of:

• A second 30-inch diameter natural gas export pipeline          
• Infield clad lines
• Umbilicals and electrical fiber/optic cable

Also, Saipem stated that the addendum calls for engineering, procurement, construction and installation work for 10 wells in up to 1,700 meters of water. The company also reported that it will deploy the following vessels during the Ramp Up to Plateau phase, which began in January 2019:

• The Castarone ultra-deep water pipelayer
• The FDS subsea field development ship
• The S7000 heavy lift vessel
• The Normand Maximus DP3 subsea construction vessel
• The Saipem 3000 subsea construction vessel
• The Castoro Sei pipelay vessel
• The Normand Cutter and Far Samson multipurpose vessels

Petrobel, a 50-50 joint venture (JV) of Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC) and the Eni S.p.A. subsidiary IEOC is developing Zohr on behalf of PetroShorouk, Saipem noted. Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co. (EGAS), IEOC, Rosneft, BP and Mubadala make up the PetroShorouk JV.

South Tunisia Gas Project

Location: Across South Tunisia
Timeframe: 2015-2019
Cost: $1bn

We’ve spoken about the pipeline, now it’s time for the real meat of Tunisia’s gas megaproject. The South Tunisia Gas Project incorporates the aforementioned transmission pipeline, but also a central processing facility at the Nawara fields. A gas treatment plant in coastal city Gabés is also under construction to turn pumped gas into consumable products.

The Central Processing Facility hold a treatment capacity of 2.7m standard cubic metres a day (Mscmd) of gas and 7,000 barrels a day of condensate. Max Streicher–Bouchammoui Industries JV was awarded the EPC contract for the Nawara CPF and flowlines. ABB was contracted to provide the gas treatment plant including gas separation and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) extraction units.

The Nawara field was discovered in June 2006 by the drilling of the Nawara-1 exploration well.The onshore well was drilled to a total depth of 3,970m, flowing at an initial rate of 5,970 barrels of oil a day and 58 million standard cubic feet a day of gas. Nawara field’s recoverable reserves are estimated to be 1.225 billion cubic metres (bcm) of oil and 10.225bcm of gas.

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