Italian energy firm Eni has agreed with Congo to boost gas production as it looks to start exporting LNG from its planned project in the African country next year.
According to a statement by Eni, the company’s chief executive Claudio Descalzi signed a letter of intent with Congo’s oil and gas minister Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua in Brazzaville on Thursday.
Descalzi was accompanied by foreign minister Luigi Di Maio and ecology transition minister Roberto Cingolani as the Italian government works with Eni to secure additional supplies in order to slash dependence on Russian gas.
Eni recently signed a deal with Egypt’s Egas as well to boost Egyptian LNG exports to Europe, and specifically to Italy. The firm also signed a contract with Algeria’s Sonatrach to increase Algerian pipeline gas supplies to Italy.
The agreement with Congo provides for the acceleration and increase of gas production in Congo, primarily through the development of an LNG export project, Eni said in the statement.
The firm said it expects to launch the LNG project in 2023. The development would have a capacity of over 3 million tons per year or over 4.5 billion cubic meters per year once fully operational.
Eni said LNG exports would allow to valorize the production of gas that exceeds Congo’s internal market needs but it did not provide any additional information regarding the project.
The firm claims it is the only company committed to developing the huge gas resources of Congo.
Eni currently supplies gas to the Congo Power Plant (CEC), which guarantees 70 percent of the country’s electricity production, it said.
In February, Descalzi told analysts during the firm’s 2021 results conference call that the firm was looking to launch its Congo floating LNG export project next year.
The project will receive associated gas from Eni’s Marine XII block offshore Congo.
After that, Eni signed a deal with US LNG player New Fortress Energy under which the latter would deploy its floating liquefaction technology off the coast of Congo for a period of 20 years.
NFE and Eni Congo signed a heads of agreement for the deployment of NFE’s liquefaction technology and to negotiate a long-term tolling agreement.
Under the deal, NFE would deploy its “Fast LNG” facility to produce up to 1.4 million metric tons per year of LNG in the associated gas fields off the coast of Congo.
Wes Edens-led NFE said it would buy about 1.2 million gallons of LNG per day pursuant to a 20-year FOB sales and purchase agreement while the production would start in the second quarter of 2023.