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A pioneering liquefied natural gas project in Equatorial Guinea, bogged down by delayed financing, ran into further trouble after U.S. oil services company Schlumberger pulled out of the venture, two other operators said on Thursday.
Ophir Energy, the London-based company heading the Fortuna development, and Golar LNG, which operates floating LNG facilities, said Schlumberger had decided to withdraw due to problems with the project’s financing.
The Fortuna development would be west Africa’s first deepwater LNG project and includes a pioneering design for the infrastructure in the form of a floating terminal that liquefies gas offshore, not onshore as usual.
Reuters reported earlier this month the growing frustration of Equatorial Guinea’s government at the delays and its ultimatum to take the project off Ophir or scrap it altogether.
Golar LNG participated in Fortuna as part of the OneLNG joint venture it had established with Schlumberger.
Commenting on the news, Ophir issued the following statement:
‘We note the announcement by Golar LNG Partners’ regarding the dissolution of its OneLNG joint venture with Schlumberger. Whilst it is disappointing that Schlumberger will no longer be part of the partnership group, Golar and Ophir remain actively engaged in senior level discussions with a number of counterparties over a financing solution for the project.
Furthermore, as part of Ophir’s contingency planning for the project, Ophir has already held informal discussions with other, well-capitalised, potential partners for our Fortuna project. Following the announcement re. OneLNG we have now formalised discussions and are actively moving forward with them.’
Ophir remains focused on maximising value creation for shareholders from the monetisation of the Fortuna discovery. We will update the market further as and when appropriate. Source: Ophir Energy