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BG and Ophir come closer to Tanzania LNG project

Mzia successful appraisal to justify BG two LNG trains

2B1st_Project_Smart_Explorer_Sales_Pursuit_ToolThe BG Group (BG) and its partner Ophir Energy (Ophir), both from UK, are pilling up natural gas reserves along their on going appraisal campaign offshore the east coast of Africa to the point to double the size of their liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Tanzania.

BG and Ophir are exploring  in partnership the blocks 1, 3 and 4 where they share interests:

 – BG 60% is the operator

 – Ophir 40%

Listed in the UK, Ophir is the fifth largest deep water acreage holder in Africa and the largest net acreage holder in offshore East Africa.

BG_Ophir_Tanzania_LNG_mapIn the same way as Anadarko and Eni in Mozambique, the exploratory drilling campaign revealed wells communicating across the gas play with recoverable reserves ways up the first estimates.

In 2011 and 2012, BG and Ophir made series of discoveries such as Mzia-1 in the Block-1 in May 2012, accumulating 3.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in-place reserves of natural gas.

Mzia-1 well is located 45 kilometers offshore Tanzania east coast and 45 kilometers on the north of the Mozambique territorial water.

The gas field is lying in 1,600 meters of water depth and 4,900 meters of total depth.

As Mzia-1 well was the fifth successful exploratory well, its in-place resources come on the top of the four previous discoveries, Jodari-1 and Chaza-1 in the block 1 and Chewa-1 and Pewa-1 in the block 4, accumulating already 7 tcf in-place reserves in the block 1.

Then BG performed the Mzia-2 as appraisal about 4 kilometers southeast of Mzia-1.

The tests confirmed that both wells are communicating, rising up all estimations about in-place resources.

In parallel, BG and Ophir expand their exploration program to the block 3 with Papa-1 wells.

From the actual discoveries in the block 1, 3 and 4, BG and Ophir are now evaluating the in-place resources of the Blocks 1,3 and 4 somewhere between 13.5 and 21 tcf.

Tanzania invites BG and Statoil to cooperate in LNG

From these reserves, BG and Ophir may consider to build a two trains LNG plant onshore Tanzania.

Such a project would require capital expenditure in the magnitude of $5 to $10 billion to develop one or two LNG trains in Tanzania.

BG_Ophir_Tanzania_Mzia_Appraisal_wellWith costs estimated about 40% below Australia for the same size of LNG trains, BG may prioritize Tanzania over Queensland LNG project expansion.

In the same time, the Tanzania Government is pushing BG and Ophir to speed up their gas field development on the same model as Statoil and ExxonMobil with their Tanzania LNG project.

Benchmarking Mozambique motivating Anadarko and Eni to unitize and join forces to speed up the construction of infrastructures, Tanzania Deputy Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Masele approached Statoil to speak with BG and investigate the opportunities of cooperation.

But BG did not comment on this scenario as the costs for LNG projects might be lower in Tanzania than in Australia, but the risks are higher.

After difficult experiences in some other African countries, such as Nigeria, BG is cautious to proceed at the speed minimizing risks in a LNG project which takes a larger dimension than originally expected.

In this context, BG and Ophir Tanzania LNG project should be twice larger than planned but should take more time to be developed so that first shipments should take place in 2020.

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