At a time when Africa most needs its oil and gas resources, the Republic of the Congo is taking lead, driving an ambitious gas monetisation agenda led by the Minister of Hydrocarbon, Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua – who also served as the president of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation for 2022 – and national oil company, La société nationale des pétroles du Congo (SNPC), in close collaboration with a suite of regional and global energy majors
And the most recent achievement saw Italian energy major, Eni, signing a contract with Wison Heavy Industry for the construction and installation of the Republic of the Congo’s second floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility - an achievement set to significantly increase the production and exportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG). With a capacity to produce 2.4 mn tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG, the facility represents part of the wider Marine XII gas valorisation plan, and is set to increase LNG production on Marine XII to 3 mtpa by as early as 2025.
The announcement of a second FLNG facility could not come at a better time for both the country and the African continent at large. In addition to reaffirming Eni’s commitment to the country, the launch of a second FLNG platform is set to significantly improve domestic production, consolidating the Republic of the Congo’s position as a regional gas hub. With over 10 tn cu/ft of natural gas resources, the development of Congolese gas serves as one of the key solutions to ensuring the regional economy not only develops, but thrives. As such, the government has been focused on investment, creating the right business environment that has allowed majors such as Eni to launch large-scale projects such as this.
For their part, both the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and the SNPC have been resilient, despite ever-increasing pressure by global actors for Africa to immediately transition from oil and gas. Recognising the critical role natural gas has and will continue to play in making energy poverty history, kickstarting industrialisation while driving long-term and sustainable socioeconomic growth, the Ministry and SNPC have long-been committed to creating an enabling environment for investors, with the announcement of Eni’s second FLNG facility serving to only reaffirm the efforts taken by the government to do just that.
Under the country’s broader Gas Master Plan – a national framework developed by the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Wood Mackenzie and guided by the SNPC that lays the foundation for the promotion of gas utilisation and the attraction of foreign direct investment – the Republic of Congo has prioritised an enabling environment, making a strong case for project launches, investment commitments and international partnerships. In this regard, other African countries should follow suite, as the country serves as a benchmark for other gas-rich nations across the continent.