Schlumberger has entered a non-binding head of terms agreement with Ophir Energy to acquire a 40% economic interest in the Fortuna floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG project) in offshore Equatorial Guinea.

Both companies will now work towards signing a definite agreement, which is planned by the second quarter of this year before announcing the final investment decision (FID).

As part of the deal, Schlumberger will reimburse 50% of Ophir’s past costs in the form of a development carried interest.

The cost will include Ophir’s capital investment until LNG production begins.

"The cost will include Ophir’s capital investment until LNG production begins."

Equatorial Guinea ministry of mines, industry and energy (MMIE) hydrocarbons director general Mercedes Eworo Milam said: "MMIE continues to lend full support to Ophir, GEPetrol and Sonagas as it progresses the Fortuna FLNG project towards FID."

Ophir Energy CEO Nick Cooper said: "We are very pleased to welcome Schlumberger into the Fortuna FLNG project. Innovative partnering in the upstream is increasingly important to deliver world class projects that can create value throughout the cycle."

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Earlier this month, Schlumberger signed an agreement with Golar to jointly develop gas reserves through FLNG technology.

Fortuna FLNG includes the development of the Fortuna field using a leased floating liquefaction storage and offloading (FLSO) vessel.

It forms the first phase of a proposed four-phased development of the fields discovered within Block R, offshore Equatorial Guinea.

Covering an area of approximately 2,450km², the Block R is located in Distal Niger Delta, approximately 140km off the coast of Bioko Island, in water depths ranging from 600m to 1,950m.

Ophir Energy holds an 80% interest in Block R, while the remaining 20% is held by GEPetrol.

The production sharing contract (PSC) for the block was signed by the Equatorial Guinea Government with the two partners in April 2006.