The Congo LNG project commenced commenced operations in December 2023 (Representative image). Credit: rusdi sembak/
Scarabeo 5, a semisubmersible drilling unit will be converted into a floating production unit (FPU) for the project. Credit: Brataffe/Wikimedia Commons.
The project involves the liquefication of natural gas from the Marine XII permit via two FLNGs. Credit: FOTOGRIN/

The Congo LNG (liquefied natural gas) project is the first natural gas liquefaction project being undertaken in the Republic of Congo. The project is set to adopt a zero-flaring technological approach, ensuring a low environmental footprint.

Energy company Eni is spearheading the development of the project through its subsidiary, Eni Congo.

The project is in line with Eni’s strategic objective to leverage its gas equity and will mark the first instance of LNG exportation from Congo. It will cater to domestic power requirements as well.

The Congo LNG project is being executed in two phases. The first phase introduced the Tango floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, while the second phase will introduce the Congo FLNG. The FLNG units will be positioned on the Nene and Litchendjili fields, which are currently active production sites.

As a component of the Marine XII development scheme, the Congo LNG project is set to augment the production capacity of the Marine XII permit to three million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of LNG.

April 2023 marked the ceremonial launch of the Congo LNG project. The commissioning phase commenced in December 2023 with the inaugural gas introduction into the Tango FLNG. The first LNG cargo is anticipated to be produced in the first quarter of 2024.

The project’s second phase is anticipated to commence operations in 2025.

Project location

The Marine XII permit, situated 20km from the Congolese coast in depths ranging from 20m to 90m, encompasses an area of 571km². It serves as the resource base for the Congo LNG project.

Eni, with a 65% stake, operates the permit alongside partners LUKOIL (25%) and Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (10%). The permit is divided into four operating licences which include the producing fields of Nene and Litchendjili and the yet-to-be-developed Minsala and Nkala.

Congo LNG project details

The Congo LNG project encompasses the Tango FLNG and Congo FLNG, 41 new wells, 11 new sealines, seven new wellhead platforms, a separation and boosting hub and an onshore gas pre-treatment plant.

The nearshore development involved the installation of the barge-based Tango FLNG, 3km from the new onshore gas pre-treatment plant, located adjacent to existing Litchendjili facilities. The phase also includes the establishment of a new production platform and the drilling of 12 nearshore wells out of the 41 wells proposed for the project.

Subsequent development in the second phase will involve the drilling of the remaining 29 wells as the offshore part of the project. The phase will also include the installation of the Congo FLNG and an additional eight platforms.

Saipem’s Scarabeo 5, a semi-submersible drilling rig, is planned to be converted into a floating production unit (FPU). It will process production fluids, separate gas from liquids, and supply gas to the adjacent FLNG. The FPU is expected to commence operations by the fourth quarter of 2025 and will be moored northwest of the Djeno Terminal at a water depth of 35m.

The onshore gas pre-treatment plant will have a processing capacity of 80m³ of gas per day, and will be linked to the FLNGs. The LNG produced is intended for both the local market and the international export market.

FLNG details

The Tango FLNG, previously known as the Caribbean FLNG, was procured by Eni from Exmar’s Export LNG in August 2022. It boasts a storage capacity of 16,100m³ of LNG and can liquefy up to 0.6Mtpa. The Tango FLNG is moored alongside the Excalibur floating storage unit (FSU) using a split mooring system.

The Congo FLNG, 380m long and 60m wide with a diameter of 35m, will have a production capacity of 2.4Mtpa. It will be anchored in a water depth of 40m. The FLNG will feature a storage capacity of 180,000m³ of LNG and 45,000m³ of LPG (liquified petroleum gas) and will utilise a submerged swivel yoke mooring system.

Contractors involved

Saipem was contracted in August 2023 to repurpose the Scarabeo 5 into an FPU for the project.

In January 2023, Expro Group secured a contract to design, construct, operate and maintain the onshore gas/LNG pre-treatment facility.

Wison (Nantong) Heavy, a subsidiary of Wison Offshore & Marine, was awarded an engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract for the Congo FLNG in December 2022, having previously provided EPCIC services for the Tango FLNG in 2017.

In August 2022, Exmar agreed to a ten-year charter for an FSU and will provide operational and maintenance services for both the Tango FLNG and the FSU.