Spearheading Clean Energy in West Africa
This article was published on the Year of Energy website.
Elite Construcciones is pioneering gas development and trade in West Africa through the construction of an liquified natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification plant at the Port of Akonikien, Equatorial Giunea, under the LNG2AFRICA initiative – the first of its kind in the region.
LNG2Africa was launched by Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons in 2017 and seeks to create a pan-African energy network, in which countries that lack domestic gas reserves import LNG from other African countries – creating new markets for LNG that is both produced and consumed within Africa.
The strategic initiative will promote the commercialization of LNG through the establishment of cooperation agreements, trade partnerships and infrastructure development.
The Akonikien project is the first gas-to-power development in Equatorial Guinea’s LNG2Africa initiative. Located on the country’s mainland, the plant will enable the transportation and storage of LNG from the country’s LNG plant at the Punta Europa Gas Complex on Bioko Island, to Akonikien on the southern border of the mainland.
“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,” says Elite Construcciones CEO Marisol Ovono Nchama Meakin.
The plant will have a storage capacity of 14,000 cubic meters (cu/m) with 12 bullet tanks. The tanks are currently the largest factory-built cryogenic bullet tanks in the world with a capacity of 1,228 cu/m and dimensions of 31 m by 9.3 m by 8.8 m.
Built by American manufacturer Corban Energy Group, it is estimated that each tank will take 12 hours to complete the 500 metres distance from the port to the new plant. Elite Construcciones also has a truck loading station and 12km of 10-inch gas and diesel pipelines to install.
Other major suppliers include pipe supplier PFF Group, which manufactured 12,000m of pipe, shipping agents D&B Shipping Ltd., who are the shipping agents for the project, Meakin Logistics UK Ltd who has carried out the procurement and logistics for the project. Elite Construcciones also worked closely with German companies Noorwek and ESC on the design and construction of the plant.
LNG is the liquid form of natural gas, one of the safest and cleanest fuels available. It emits less pollution than other fossil fuels.
When natural gas is burned, it produces carbon dioxide and water vapor. Compared to other fossil fuels, natural gas emits the least amount of carbon dioxide when combusted, making it the cleanest burning fossil fuel.
“Working with both the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons and LNG2AFRICA, 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,” says Marisol.