Maputo abuzz with talk that Italian major and its Area 4 partners may opt for second offshore liquefaction unit
Italian major Eni is considering the possibility of deploying a second floating liquefied natural gas vessel in Mozambique.
The Milan-based player’s first FLNG vessel in the country — Coral Sul — arrived in Mozambican waters six months ago and is due to start up later this year, tapping gas from the deep-water Coral South field in Area 4.
Two sources with direct knowledge of Eni’s latest thinking on exploiting additional gas resources in Area 4 said that a second liquefaction unit is firmly on the company’s radar.
One project watcher said: “There no doubt about it; people are looking at it,” adding that this is an “open topic” of discussion in Maputo.
The second source confirmed another FLNG unit could well be on the cards.
Asked about the possibility of deploying a second liquefaction vessel, a company spokesperson said: “Eni and its partners are actively evaluating all technical solutions to allow timely production of Mozambique’s considerable gas resources.”
Eni is responsible for all upstream aspects of Area 4 development, with ExxonMobil handling onshore elements, including the Rovuma LNG facility.
Area 4 hosts about 85 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, mainly in the Mamba field whose resources underpin Rovuma LNG project, but also in Coral field.
The Coral Sul vessel will tap about 5 Tcf from the southern part of Coral’s 15 Tcf of estimated resource base.
In 2014, Upstream reported that Eni was considering an FLNG vessel to exploit similar volumes of gas held in the northern part of Coral, and was told the Coral Sul contract would likely include an option, or at least an understanding, that the winning consortium will supply a second FLNG vessel.
Upstream also reported at the time that Eni was mulling two additional FLNG vessels for other gas assets in Area 4.
The Coral Sul unit was built in South Korea by a group comprising Samsung Heavy Industries, Japan’s JGC and Technip Energies of France under a $2.5 billion contract awarded in 2017.
One source suggested Samsung has offered a second Coral Sul type unit — with a capacity of 3.4 million tonnes per annum — for a cheaper price than the first vessel, and may even have proposed a larger unit. This could not be confirmed.
It is assumed that a second Coral vessel, like the first, would be moored in some 2000 metres of water.
However, with Eni opting to choose nearshore FLNG solutions in Congo-Brazzaville to exploit its shallow gas resources there, this approach could potentially be a technically viable option for Mozambique, with deep-water subsea wells feeding gas to a liquefaction unit moored near the coast.