Ophir Seeks Partners for $3.5 Billion LNG Project in West Africa

Ophir Energy Plc is seeking partners to share costs in its $3.5 billion floating liquefied natural gas project off Equatorial Guinea.

Ophir plans to invest about $200 million to explore for additional gas off the West African nation, said Chief Executive Officer Nick Cooper. The company, based in London, needs to increase resources by about 15 percent to 3 trillion cubic feet to support construction of a floating plant with capacity of 2.5 million tons a year.

“Commercially that’s probably the biggest swing patch in our portfolio for 2014,” the CEO told investors during a webcast presentation today, referring to the project. “The rest is exploratory.”

The company, which plans to invest about $500 million this year, expects to ship the first fuel from Equatorial Guinea in 2018, at least two years ahead of its project in East Africa’s Tanzania, according to the presentation.

Ophir estimates it will take at least $1 billion to pump the first gas, and as much as $2.5 billion to manufacture the FLNG, according to the presentation. Ophir switched its focus to a floating facility from building an onshore LNG plant in Equatorial Guinea after finding reserves last year.

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