oil postponed

Delays continue in Senegal’s oil and gas sector

By Maher Hajbi

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on August 16, 2023 09:00

 © Construction of a 1,200-metre breakwater off the coast of Senegal and Mauritania as part of the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim gas project. (Eiffage)
Construction of a 1,200-metre breakwater off the coast of Senegal and Mauritania as part of the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim gas project. (Eiffage)

After Sangomar, the start of production at the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim has also been postponed until 2024, despite Dakar’s reliance on fossil fuels to boost its economy.

Located on the Senegalese-Mauritanian maritime border, the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) gas field is subject to a further delay in the start of production. Initially scheduled for the last quarter of 2023, the inauguration of GTA’s first phase has officially been postponed for operational reasons.

While British giant BP merely announced the news when it published its biannual results, the Texan company Kosmos Energy – which owns 29% of this project, compared with 61% for BP and 10% for Petrosen and SMHPM – explained the delay by the unavailability, within the planned timeframe, of the floating production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO).

Repeated postponements

First announced for 2022 before being postponed until 2023, the gas field start-up has experienced multiple delays.

“The bigger the project, the more likely it is to run over budget and over schedule,” explained gas industry specialist Mehdy Touil. He adds that the umpteenth postponement of a mega-project like GTA “comes as no surprise”.

Production of the first barrels of oil from the Sangomar project scheduled for the end of 2023 has also been postponed until mid-2024. Australian operator Woodside Energy, which owns 82% of the oilfield, compared with Petrosen’s 18%, has identified malfunctions in the FPSO that require adjustments. The cost of the project has also been revised upwards, from $4.6 to $4.9 or even $5.2bn.

Loss of revenue

At a time when Senegal is banking on fossil fuels to boost its development, Dakar’s economic projections are coming up against the difficulties of bringing Sangomar and GTA online.

Initially, these two fields are expected to produce around five million tonnes of crude oil and 2.3m tonnes of natural gas per year, with annual production rising to 10m tonnes thereafter.

Although the revenues from the exploitation of these natural resources are intended to transform the Senegalese economy, the country will still have to be patient before reaching its goal. “Revenue losses and, above all, late payment penalties are commonplace. Buyers incur huge losses if they can’t load their cargoes, and in most cases, it’s the producer who picks up the bill,” says Touil.

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime