With the discovery of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) gas field in 2015 and the latest developments regarding the BirAllah field, Mauritania has become an increasingly attractive destination for investment. In addition to hydrocarbon supply benefits, the country is set to see numerous economic opportunities made possible through oil and gas monetization, all of which will be showcased at the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power conference and exhibition – taking place from November 21-22 this year.
According to the World Bank, the lack of infrastructure in Mauritania has caused a significant constraint on economic growth. However, with the introduction of large-scale energy developments such as GTA, which require significant infrastructure investment such as roads, pipelines, and storage facilities, opportunities for growth in this area have increased. Developing these infrastructure projects will create jobs in construction and maintenance, which will boost the economy. One specific project is the transformation of the port city of Nouadhibou into a regional gas processing, import and export hub, which, in addition to employment creation, will require an expansion of the current 300,000 metric tons oil storage capacity.
Additionally, on the power infrastructure side, the Banda Gas-to-Power Project, developed by New Fortress Energy, aims to produce natural gas for electricity generation by 2024. The project includes upstream gas field production, power generation, and power transmission components. It will reduce costs and increase supply for Mauritanian households and industry, while promoting regional integration through electricity exports to Senegal and Mali.
Hydrogen has a crucial part to play in the shift to sustainable energy. Despite its potential, the production of green hydrogen is still limited and expensive. According to Nils Røkke, Chairman of European Energy Research Alliance, one solution is to concurrently develop blue and green hydrogen, with the anticipation that green hydrogen will gradually prevail as the dominant form. This is the strategy adopted by bp in Mauritania which has operator interests in GTA and BirAllah Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fields, but correspondingly studies the feasibility of a green hydrogen project in the country. Mauritania’s Minister of Finance Isselmou Ould Mohamed M’Bady advocated for “significant increase in blended financing to support the transition towards green energy.” Using profits from first gas could be one of the solutions to finance green hydrogen projects.
Already representing a leading producer of minerals, Mauritania benefits from a solid pool of local service providers to the extractive sectors, whether logistics and security or legal and engineering consulting. The expansion of infrastructure and development of oil and gas projects will create even further job opportunities across this sector. For example, the local consulting firm Meen&Meen, part of a joint venture with Jade Advisory and EPCM Holdings, has secured a strategic contract for the transformation of the south of Nouakchott port into a regional hub. The projected growth of 6.2% of GDP by 2025 in the country will also improve the quality and availability of services in the country. The transportation industry, in particular, is expected to benefit from increased demand for goods and people, with the African Development Bank estimating that the transport sector in Mauritania will grow by 5.5% per year between 2020 and 2025.
According to the World Bank, access to finance remains a significant challenge in Mauritania, with only 10% of the population having access to formal financial services. Ousmane Mamadou Kane, the Minister of Economic Affairs and the Promotion of the Productive Sector explained that the government aims to inject a lot of resources into the Treasury and the Central Bank using revenues generated from oil and gas. This will create significant opportunities for local banks and financial institutions while enabling the broader business sector to benefit from improved access to capital.
Tourism and Hospitality
Less known for tourism than its neighboring countries Morocco and Senegal, Mauritania still has hidden gems such as the Adrar region which is full of fascinating sites such as the historic towns of Chinguetti and Ouadane, or the Iron Ore Train, accessible to adventurous travelers which runs from the mining town of Zouerat to the coastal city of Nouadhibou and offers stunning views of the desert landscape. The improvement of road infrastructure and increased revenues are expected to give a boost to the hospitality and tourism sectors.
MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power, the leading energy event of the region, is scheduled to take place in Nouakchott, Mauritania on November 21-22. Organized by Energy Capital & Power, the event aims to bring together potential investors, project developers, and public stakeholders to create an ideal platform for initiating new projects and signing deals. By organizing high-level panel discussions, exclusive networking sessions, and technical workshops, MSGBC 2023 will dive into the ways that the country can utilize its natural gas industry to unlock long-term economic advantages.