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BP and Kosmos firm up plans for Tortue

UK supermajor and US independent say there is 'no better time' to develop gas discovery off Mauritania and Senegal

BP AND Kosmos Energy are working their way towards front-end engineering and design on the partners’ planned Tortue project off Mauritania and Senegal, which they hope will be “one of the lowest cost” liquefied natural gas projects in the world.

The UK supermajor and Dallas-based independent Kosmos are nearing the end of a drillstem test on the Tortue-1 discovery in waters straddling the maritime border between the two nations, with early results “validating the key parameters” underpinning their envisaged development.

“We remain focused on progressing the Tortue development... we believe there's no better time to be developing a project like Tortue,” Kosmos chief executive Andy Inglis said this week, while unveiling the company’s second-quarter results.

“The partnership is leveraging the current market environment along with a novel contracting strategy to deliver one of the lowest cost pre-final investment decision LNG projects in the world.”

BP farmed into Kosmos’ acreage off Senegal and Mauritania last year, with the pair quickly hatching a preferred plan for Tortue comprising a scaled, modular floating LNG development. 

They have set their sights on sanctioning the initial Tortue development next year, with first gas seen in 2021. 

The initial phase, with a 2.5 million tonnes per annum floater, is set to cost around $2 billion, with a second similar-size floater seen up and running some two years after the first.

US-based contractor KBR has previously been tipped to start a six-month front-end engineering and design process. 

 The drillstem test being carried out by the drillship Atwood Achiever is set to provide valuable data to support FEED.

Inglis said the test is designed to look at the well flow rate, reservoir connectivity and assess fluids composition. 

Although he would not disclose any specific details about how the test has been going, he said: “The early results from the test validate the key parameters on well rates, reservoir connectivity, and fluid composition that underpin the preferred development concept.”

He added: “These are high-rate wells,” also highlighting that the partners have previously talked of well rates “capable of 200 million cubic feet per day”.

The partners remain in discussions about a midstream solution for the project, with the major next step for the development being securing the intergovernmental co-operation agreement between Mauritania and Senegal. 

Any unitisation agreement would be made between partners Kosmos and BP and the national oil companies of both countries, Inglis said.

Tortue has estimated recoverable gas resources of some 15 trillion cubic feet of gas, with the wider 33,000 square-kilometre acreage possibly holding multiples of that.

BP is in the running as a potential offtaker for LNG from Tortue, Inglis said, although adding that the partners are still exploring other options. 

Apart from gaining access to such a large potential offtaker, Inglis said part of the rationale behind the team-up with BP was to gain access to the London-based giant’s overall gas portfolio to initiate the Tortue project.