Eni Launches Congo Liquefied Natural Gas Project

Congo LNG, expected to hit capacity in 2025, aims to transform the African country into a natural gas exporter.

The semisubmersible Seaway Swan heavy transport vessel, operated by Oslo-headquartered Seaway7, transports Eni’s Tango FLNG, the first of two floating production facilities the Italian major will operate in Congo.
Source: Eni

Eni has launched its Congo LNG project to exploit the country’s Marine XII offshore gas fields (Fig. 1) to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) for global export, particularly to Europe, while generating gas for domestic power generation.

Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of the Republic of the Congo, and Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi laid the project’s foundation stone during a 25 April ceremony in Pointe-Noire on the country’s Atlantic coast.

Fig. 1—Congo’s Marine XII offshore gas expansion project.
Source: Eni

Eni said it expects Congo LNG to be producing at its capacity of 3 million tonnes/year (about 4.5 billion m3/year) by 2025. The project is to be executed in two stages, according to Eni.

  • Stage 1 encompasses a nearshore development including Eni’s 0.6 million tonne/year Tango floating LNG (FLNG) vessel, which is expected to start production late this year; construction of a gas-pretreatment plant; installation of an additional platform; and the drilling of 12 wells.
  • Stage 2 foresees an expanded offshore development that includes the positioning of a second 2.4 million tonne/year capacity FLNG facility that is currently under construction; installation of eight new platforms; and the drilling of 29 wells.

The project takes a zero-flaring approach by monetizing all gas—associated and produced—with the siting of two FLNG plants at the Nenè oil field and Litchendjili gas condensate field ,which are currently producing, and nearby prospects yet to be developed.
In all, five discoveries have been made in the 571 km2 license area 20 km offshore in water depths of 20–90 m. In crude oil, Congo is sub-Sahara Africa’s third largest producer after Nigeria and Angola, the energy research consultancy Wood Mackenzie wrote in its 2022 upstream report on the country.

Expro To Construct, Operate Onshore Pretreatment Plant
In Janaury, Eni signed a long-term-production-solutions contract with Expro Group Holdings to design, construct, operate, and maintain a fast-track onshore LNG pretreatment facility (OPT) at Pointe-Noire. The plant will link to Eni’s FLNG offshore facilities and will process about 80 MMcf/D of gas.

The OPT will be built near the Litchendjili gas plant, which funnels gas to the adjacent Centrale Electrique du Congo Pointe-Noire Power Plant.

Commenting during the launch ceremony, Eni CEO Descalzi, said the project is “destined to significantly contribute to both Italy and Europe’s energy security and industrial competitiveness.

“This … speaks to the importance of long-term collaboration with our African partners at a time when important strategic choices need to be made in regard to future diversification of supply routes and European energy mixes,” Descalzi said.

Eni has been operating in Congo for more than 50 years and is the second largest oil operator in the country after France’s TotalEnergies. Eni is the only company active in the development of gas in Congo, guaranteeing 70% of the country’s national electricity production through the Centrale Electrique du Congo (CEC), the Italian major says.

Eni holds a 65% operator interest in Marine XII under a production sharing agreement that runs until 2039. Partners in the project include the state-owned Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (10%) and Russia’s Lukoil (25%).

In March, Lukoil Vice President Ivan Romanovsky told Russia’s Interfax news service that the project would see its first LNG dropped in December, as reported by VOA.com, which noted that Lukoil and Eni have jointly bid on two new blocks—Marine 24 and Marine 31.