April 16 (UPI) -- British energy company BP is moving ahead with development of a liquefied natural project off the West African coast with early design work, a contractor said.
French services company TechnipFMC said it landed a front-end engineering and design contract from BP for work on a floating production storage and offloading unit for the Tortue/Ahmeyim field, home to an LNG project on the maritime border between Mauritania and Senegal.
BP secured the agreements necessary to make a final investment decision on the project from the governments of Mauritania and Senegal in February. The governments under the terms of the agreement split the resources and revenues from a field with estimated resources of 15 trillion cubic feet of gas.
That's roughly the equivalent of the annual demand from members of the European Union.
TechnipFMC under the terms of the contract will work on preliminary equipment and technology work, with the option to move to engineering and installation at a later stage.
Processing of the Tortue/Ahmeyim field will consist of four wells that will be tied to the floating production platform. From there, gas will be transported through a pipeline to a floating LNG terminal.
Gas in its liquid form has more deliverability options than piped gas, giving energy-rich countries like the United States further export reach.
West African nations are on the cusp of becoming major producers of oil and natural gas in their own right. With nearly 700 million barrels in reserves at its SNE oil discovery alone, Senegal is quickly emerging as a bright spot offshore West Africa.
BP heralded a "major" discovery of natural gas off the coast of Mauritania and Senegal alongside joint venture partner Kosmos Energy last year.
TechnipFMC didn't offer financial details on its contract with BP.