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Equatorial Guinea to convert methanol plant to modular refinery

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,


The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea (MMH) is ordering the dismantling of the methanol plant owned by the Atlantic Methanol Production Company LLC (AMPCO) at the Punta Europa Gas Complex on Bioko Island, calling instead for a modular refinery.

“The Punta Europa complex is the crown jewel in Equatorial Guinea’s gas processing infrastructure and is central to our long-term plans for gas monetisation. However, due to a lack of investment in the Alba field and the methanol plant, a modular refinery would be a more productive project for that space,” said Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.

MMH has commissioned a feasibility study to convert the methanol plant at Punta Europa. The methanol plant is a component of the larger Punta Europa gas processing facility owned by Marathon Oil and its partners. Marathon Oil Company holds 45% shares in the methanol plant.

As part of the country’s new Gas Mega Hub project – which aims to provide additional gas supply to processing facilities both onshore and offshore – new investment in the Punta Europa complex is needed. The plant is currently supplied by Marathon Oil’s Alba field, which has seen declining production. The first phase of the gas mega hub project is to implement a new gas supply agreement signed between the MMH and Noble Energy, operator of the Aseng and Alen fields in Block I/O. Gas will be supplied to the Punta Europa gas complex, which includes the Malabo power station, AMPCO methanol plant and the Equatorial Guinea LNG plant. The agreement, combined with new subsea pipelines linking the Aseng, Alen and Alba fields, will replace some of the gas production lost as the Alba field declines.

Even as the Alba field declines, however, Noble Energy, Kosmos Energy and Trident Energy have made major discoveries after an aggressive 2019 work programme.

“New investment is what is needed to continue to drive Equatorial Guinea forward. We are very pleased to be working with companies like Noble Energy, Kosmos Energy and Trident Energy, which remain committed to strong work programmes and new opportunities for growth,” the Minister said.

An expected direct investment of a minimum of US$1.4 billion – a firm US$1.2 billion and a contingent forecast of US$273 million predicted for 2020 – is associated with the drilling of two wells and the continuous development of six existing wells in Equatorial Guinea in 2020.

Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/07012020/equatorial-guinea-to-convert-methanol-plant-to-modular-refinery/

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