(Corrects spelling of Total official's surname to Vivier from
ABIDJAN Oct 4 Ivory Coast signed a partnership
pact on Tuesday to create a consortium headed by France's Total
to build a liquid natural gas (LNG) import terminal
that could begin receiving gas shipments by mid-2018.
Ivory Coast has emerged from years of political turmoil to
become one of Africa's fastest growing economies and demand for
electricity is increasing by 10 percent annually, according to
the energy ministry.
"The arrival of LNG in Ivory Coast opens a new era in the
production of electricity," Energy Minister Adama Toungara said
at a signing ceremony in the commercial capital Abidjan.
Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa's largest economy,
has the region's most reliable power production sector and
exports electricity to its neighbours. However, a lack of new
domestic gas discoveries has raised concerns of a supply crunch.
The project aims to conceive, build and operate a floating
storage regasification unit (FSRU) with initial capacity of 100
million cubic feet that would gradually be brought up to 500
million cubic feet, according to an energy ministry statement.
The ministry estimated the cost at $200 million.
"We have the intention to bring this project to fruition.
You have set ambitious targets," said Laurent Vivier, head of
Total's gas division.
Total would be the project's operator. Other members of the
consortium include Royal Dutch Shell, Houston-based
Endeavor Energy, Ivory Coast state oil company Petroci,
CI-Energies, Azerbaijan's SOCAR and Golar LNG.
Total said earlier on Tuesday that the discussions in Ivory
Coast were in a preliminary stage.
It has said it plans to invest and finance downstream gas
infrastructure especially in countries where there is a growing
demand for power. The move could enable it capture new gas
Ivory Coast's oil ministry said last year that $20 billion
in power investment would be needed over the next 15 years to
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Additional reporting by
Bate Felix in Paris; Editing by Joe Bavier/Ruth Pitchford)