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Republic of Congo launches first LNG carrier, paving the way for major gas exports

The Republic of Congo has launched its first LNG carrier, with the intention of becoming a key player in global gas exports. With its first LNG delivery, the Republic of the Congo takes a historic step in the development of its burgeoning hydrocarbons sector. The tanker was launched in the presence of the Republic of the Congo’s President Denis Sassou N’Guesso and Minister of Hydrocarbons Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua.

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The Congo LNG project has a liquefaction production capacity of 1 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year; first gas was received in December 2023. The project leverages gas resources and existing production infrastructure from the Marine XII concession—roughly 3km offshore the Republic of the Congo.

As such, with a specific focus on exporting its natural gas and oil resources to Europe, the long-awaited expansion of the Marine XII project is set to raise the country’s hydrocarbons output to 500,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and 4.5 bcm of gas within two years.

LNG production at the project will be driven further by the arrival of a second LNG vessel with a capacity of 3.5 bcm, which is currently under construction and will begin production in 2024. This additional unit will be able to store more than 180,000 cubic meters of LNG, which will be used to meet domestic demand.

Aimed at driving the optimal exploitation of the Republic of the Congo’s abundant gas resources—estimated at 10 trillion cubic feet—and with a zero-flaring technological approach, the entire volume of LNG produced from the project will be marketed to international buyers by energy supermajor Eni.

With the anticipated start-up of the Republic of the Congo’s new 50,000 bpd refinery—due to come online in 2025—the country aims to become self-sufficient in domestic demand while leaving excess production available for further export to international markets. Construction of the refinery is slated to begin in Q1 2024, with production expected to start 18 months later.

The Republic of the Congo is the fifth largest exporter of crude oil in Africa, with an average export volume of 210,000 bpd of Djeno crude in 2022. The country also produces and exports light sweet M’Kossa and heavy sweet Yombo crude derivatives, primarily to Chinese markets.


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