(Updates with quote, details)
CAPE TOWN, June 6 (Reuters) - Equatorial Guinea's energy
minister on Monday said Schlumberger SLB.N had walked away
from the country's Fortuna floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG)
project but he also said he was confident it would be
Fortuna, Africa's first deep-water independent floating
liquefied natural gas project, is one of a number planned when
energy prices were higher. The offshore field is expected to
produce 2.2 million tonnes per annum.
Oil and gas explorer Ophir Energy OPHR.L in April said it
had ended talks with Schlumberger over the U.S. company's
upstream participation in Fortuna.
Energy minister Obiang Lima said he was confident the
project would go ahead and be successful, with Equatorial Guinea
taking an equity stake via its state-owned companies.
"Some people were a little bit hesitant after Schlumberger
left but the problem with Schlumberger is that they wanted to
monopolise everything and we don't want that," Lima told
Reuters on the sidelines of an oil and gas conference in Cape
"Some people thought they left because the project was not
profitable. That is not the case - it was because they wanted to
do everything and we cannot allow one service company to do
everything," he said.
Schlumberger was not immediately available to comment.
Ophir said it was talking to a range of equity investors, as
well as gas buyers, to help to finance the project.
"We've done all the work in a very difficult environment to
deliver a very investable project, (including) bringing down the
capital costs of first gas by half to what they were 12 months
ago, to $450 million, which is huge," Bill Higgs, Ophir's chief
operating officer, said.
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