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Tullow May Start Building Mauritania Gas Pipelines Next Year

Tullow Oil Plc, the U.K.-based explorer with the most licenses in Africa, will start work on a natural gas project in Mauritania once talks with potential buyers are finished, said Tim O’Hanlon, vice president of African business.

Construction of facilities including pipelines for the Banda gas field will begin after customer negotiations are finished at the end of next year, he said in an interview on the sidelines of an industry conference in Nouakchott, the capital, today. Gas production is planned for late 2014 or early 2015, he said.

Mauritania, a $3.6 billion economy which earns foreign currency from exports of iron ore, gold and fish, plans to build a power plant to use Banda gas, the state-owned Horizons newspaper reported in July. Tullow, which has a 22 percent stake in the country’s Chinguetti field, estimates reserves at Banda of 500 billion cubic feet, O’Hanlon said.

Kinross Gold Corp.’s Tasiast gold mine is also planning to use Banda gas for electricity production, he said. Talks are being held with other potential buyers, according to O’Hanlon.

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