Founded in Malabo in 2012, Elite Construcciones is a fully Equatoguinean construction and engineering company. Marisol Ovono Nchama, President and CEO, talks to Africa Energy Series- Equatorial Guinea, about the company’s role in Equatorial Guinea’s oil and gas sector.
As a local company, how has Elite Construcciones succeeded in an industry dominated by international firms?
Elite Construcciones has never said no or refused anything. When we decided to open Elite, it was agreed by all that we would make it a company we could be proud of, and I am very proud to say that we achieved this. Nothing was easy and we were in a very difficult environment. We faced new issues every day, whether it be with clients, banks or government departments. I think in the first year I wanted to close the company on a daily basis, but we pushed on regardless of the issues. We built a reputation with our clients of giving them exactly what they wanted. Working in this environment, there is no such thing as a nine to five. We have always been there for our clients, no matter what time of day or night, and this is how we made a place in a very difficult market.
Elite was originally built as a construction company for the oil and gas sector in 2012. Since then, we have diversified to keep up with our clients. We now have a workforce of 420 people. We fully manage turnkey projects, design and construction, on and offshore labor hire, blasting and painting, fabrication and welding, catering facilities and supplies, material supplies including procurement and importation, and landscape services. In 2019, we will be introducing several new services, one of which is waste disposal. Whatever our clients have required, whether it is onshore, offshore or midstream, we have been prepared to do it.
What is Elite’s involvement in the LNG2Africa initiative and what is the current status of the project?
We are working on the liquified natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification station on the mainland of Equatorial Guinea. This project is the first of its kind in West Africa. LNG will be delivered from Punta Europa using smaller scale LNG vessels with 7,000 to 10,000 cubic meters (cbm) capacity. From the new storage and regasification facility in Akonikien, there are six kilometers of pipeline to the power and cement plant. Originally, this was a 16-month contract, however, due to unforeseen ground issues that led to a full redesign and the addition of a truck loading dock and diesel pipeline to the contract, the period has been extended. The project itself is going well, and the tanks are nearly completed and will be ready for shipping this June. In total, there are twelve tanks, with each tank holding 1,200 cbm of gas. The size of these pre-fabricated tanks makes them one of the largest, if not the largest, tanks in West Africa, at over 30m long and 10m in diameter.
It is important that a national company leads this domestic LNG project in the sense that it is an African initiative. As a national company, we have project-managed it and are making it happen. We have used expertise from specialist companies from all over the world, but we have done it in Equatorial Guinea as a local company. We can now take that expertise with us wherever we go. We have the blueprint to go to other markets and create a similar infrastructure. Working with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Elite has a lot of potential for the future of LNG in Africa. We believe in clean gas. We believe in a lower carbon footprint. We believe that the vision of the Ministry is a powerful one.