Ophir Energy Plans to Build New LNG Plant in Equatorial Guinea

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Ophir Energy Plc, the U.K. explorer focusing on East and West Africa, is studying plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant in Equatorial Guinea after finding enough of the fuel off the nation’s coast to supply the site.

It made seven gas discoveries with 7 trillion cubic feet of resources on Block R, Chief Executive Officer Nick Cooper told investors today in London. Ophir plans to build a 140 kilometer (87 mile) pipeline to bring the fuel to Punta Europa on Bioko Island and feed a plant producing 3.7 million metric tons of LNG a year, according to a company presentation on its website.

“The company is now targeting a full train of LNG exports with support from the government for a fast track development,” the London-based explorer said in a statement.

The nation, Africa’s fourth-biggest exporter of LNG, has a plant with one unit, or train, on the island so far with about 3.4 million tons of annual capacity. Equatorial Guinea LNG, a venture between Marathon Oil, state-owned Sociedad Nacional de Gas, Mitsui & Co. and Marubeni Corp., has been examining plans to double output with a second unit at a cost of $4 billion.

Ophir expects to make a final decision on the EGLNG-R plant in 2014 with first gas exported as soon as 2017, Cooper said.

Separately, the company said its preliminary seismic survey in Tanzania Block 7 identified the Mlinzi prospect with more than 20 trillion cubic feet of potential gas resources. Another study mapped the Kusini area, finding the Lead 1C prospect with more than 22 trillion cubic feet of resources in Block 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net