By Mbafan Ade (BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT) –
To reduce electricity deficits and develop a regional energy hub, consulting firms TSK and LFR Energy have partnered on the development of the Sandiara Power Plant project, with construction slated to begin in 2024.
The Spanish construction company TSK, which provides sustainable solutions and services to the industrial and energy sectors, has partnered with LFR Energy – a subsidiary of Senegalese holding company LFR which invests in energy, hotel, and real estate projects – for the construction of the project.
The Sandiara Power Plant, a gas-to-power facility is located in Senegal’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Energy Capital & Power (ECP), LFR CEO Pierre Diouf stated that “the consortium has ambitions to build the largest gas-to-power plant in Senegal with the objective to develop Sandiara as a regional energy hub through the exploitation of the country’s gas and oil resources.”
The power plant comprises a combined cycle power station (CCG) that uses Siemens Energy SGT-800 gas turbines to meet industrial power generation demands. With a capacity of 360 MW and utilizing natural gas resources, the project is estimated to have an annual production capacity of 2,900 GWh. CCG plants are well-known for their dependability as well as ability to run on a variety of fossil fuels, making them an appealing alternative for fulfilling the rising need for power production capacity. In the case of a gas supply outage, the power plant will be able to function on light crude oil as an alternate fuel source.
“TSK has expertise creating CCG power plants, which offer sophisticated technological design and highly efficient power producing capabilities,” Diouf stated, adding that the plant has the potential to integrate resources, “…perhaps with solar energy as well, since we intend to build photovoltaic panels near the plant.”
Still, the power plant will mostly run on domestic gas obtained from Senegal’s western hydrocarbon reserves, most likely the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) and Yakaar Teranga gas basins. “Gas from GTA will be mostly used for export,” Malick Guaye, First Deputy of the Municipality of Sandiara, who is in charge of the energy projects in the SEZ, told ECP. “Sangomar has gas, but it is mostly an oil field, and first gas from Yakaar-Teranga will be exclusively for domestic use, making it the most appropriate field for the project.” The gas will be transferred to the power plant via a pipeline connecting Sandiara and the Malicounda power station, which is currently under construction.
LFR plans to begin construction of the facility in the first quarter of 2024, with the goal of having it operational by 2026. The project will be funded by loans, mostly from the Emirati investment fund Al Furqan Credit, with the remaining half (around 15 to 20%), financed by shareholder equity. The project will be structured in accordance with Senegalese law governing public-private partnerships while the produced electricity, a portion of which will be dedicated to SEZ demands, will be provided by the state utility SENELEC under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
Surplus electricity will be exported to West African neighboring nations, with Diouf stating that “Niger has already expressed interest in our project and Mali has initiated a similar project in Sandiara to power mining plants near the Senegalese border. The municipality suggested they partner with us to build the pipeline infrastructure.”
Guaye added that, “Currently, many West African countries have a power deficit, and it is cheaper for them to buy electricity directly from us instead of transporting natural gas.”
“But the main focus of the project remains Senegal,” concluded Diouf. The project itself provides several benefits to the country, including reducing Senegal’s electricity deficit, creating direct and indirect job opportunities, promoting industrial development for both large and small- to medium enterprises, and transferring technology and competencies to the local workforce.
Overall, the project aims to combat power outages, lower electricity costs, stimulate economic growth, and enhance regional cooperation, a key goal at the heart of the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2023 exhibition and conference (https://apo-opa.info/3rB3QX2). The event will take place in Nouakchott from November 21–22 and is expected to unite a strong slate of regional and global energy players, brightening the future of the region through the signing of deals and forging of partnerships.