Ghana set to receive first LNG cargo by end of May
Ghana is now expected to receive its first LNG cargo at the end of this month, a project spokesman said, as the country prepares to become sub-Saharan Africa's first LNG importer.
The project -- consisting of separate regasification and storage vessels -- has the capacity to import 1.7 million mt/year of LNG and had been expected to receive its first cargo by the end of Q1 2021.
"The first cargo is currently expected for the end of May," the spokesman for the project -- backed by Helios Investment Partners and Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers -- told S&P Global Platts.
"The project is operationally ready, and is currently awaiting an agreement between Shell and GNPC on the first delivery date," he said.
LNG will be supplied under a long-term contract with Shell, which said in a February strategy presentation that it wanted to grow its LNG market footprint by creating new markets, including being a first supplier of LNG to Ghana.
A Shell spokeswoman said May 5 the company was unable to give any guidance on timings for the first cargo.
In March, France-based certification company Bureau Veritas (BV) completed the classification of Ghana's dedicated LNG regasification vessel, the Torman, which arrived in Ghana from China in January.
The LNG storage vessel, the Vasant, is currently headed for Tema, having been chartered to act as the dedicated storage vessel for the Ghana LNG project.
According to Platts trade-flow software, cFlow, the Vasant is east of the island of Madagascar, preparing to sail around the Cape of Good Hope.
African LNG imports
There are a number of LNG export projects across North and West Africa, but Egypt in 2015 became the first -- and so far only -- African country to import LNG.
But that is set to change as Ghana gears up to begin LNG imports, the first in sub-Saharan Africa.
In January, Spain's Reganosa was awarded the contract to operate and maintain the terminal as well as an associated 6-km gas pipeline.
LNG will add to Ghana's own gas production and imports from Nigeria via the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), though these have been subject to frequent interruptions.
The WAGP -- which also provides Nigerian gas to Benin and Togo -- is one of only two transnational gas pipelines in sub-Saharan Africa, the other being a pipeline from Mozambique to South Africa.
LNG is therefore seen as a quick way for African countries -- which are expected to see growing gas demand in the coming years especially for power generation -- to gain easier access to gas supplies.
More FSRUs have been planned across sub-Saharan Africa, including in Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Namibia, South Africa, Kenya and Sudan, though none are expected to be realized any time soon.
Equatorial Guinea is also planning a small LNG import terminal on its mainland, but it is thought the facility will be used to take LNG from its EG LNG export plant on Bioko Island for storage and for feeding gas to the mainland.