Future Energy Service Zone Nouakchott to Fuel Investments in Oil, Gas, and Green Hydrogen

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With the impending production from the Grande Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) gas field, Mauritania is set to become Africa’s third-largest gas exporter. Key industry players such as bp, Total Energies, and Shell are actively exploring Mauritania‘s basin, as the government prioritizes the full exploitation of the country’s gas potential until 2030. To this end, the government has launched the Energy Service Zone project in Nouakchott as part of its Gas Master Plan launched in 2022.

A consortium consisting of South African, Tunisian, and Mauritanian consulting firms – EPCM, Jade Advisory, and Meen&Meen – presented the concept of an Energy Service Zone project in Nouakchott to the Ministry of Energy, Petroleum, and Mines in May 2023. Subsequently, EPCM officially launched the project during a spotlight session dedicated to Mauritania’s energy sector at the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2023 conference. The Ministry will serve as the project owner and is seeking to recruit a private operator for the development and operation of the forthcoming service zone.

Alexandra Gazendam, Director of EPCM, emphasized, “We’ve highlighted Mauritania’s immense potential and unique attributes, and the time has come to establish fundamental infrastructure to unlock the country’s potential.” Gazendam added, “We view this project as a catalyst for foreign direct investment and an opportunity to empower the local private sector.”

The Energy Service Zone is part of a broader program aimed at revitalizing infrastructure in Mauritania, particularly port facilities. In 2022, Hamburg Port Consulting was selected to conduct a pre-feasibility study for developing an operational business concept for Port N’diago, the port closest to GTA. In 2019, a project was initiated to establish a Special Economic Zone called the Tanit Development Hub to boost activity at the port of the same name. Additionally, in 2013, the government designated Nouadhibou, the main port for mineral exports, as a Free Zone to attract both international investors and domestic operators.

The Energy Service Zone in Mauritania, initially tailored for the oil and gas sector, also aims at emerging as a hub for green hydrogen. Projects like Conjuncta and Infinity plan to establish a complex converting 10 GW of electricity into green hydrogen by 2028, with an initial phase operational by then. Total Energies’ Nour de Chariot project targets 1.2 million tons of annual green hydrogen production by 2030. Similarly, CWP’s Aman project, commencing construction in 2025, intends to produce green hydrogen before 2030 using 30 GW of hybrid wind and solar energy. Primarily intended for export or derivative products like ammonia, these companies could benefit from a special economic zone that enables them to transform green hydrogen at lower costs and export it to Europe.

The establishment of the energy service zone not only has the potential to enhance the energy sector but also to stimulate the entire Mauritanian economy. Its special status will facilitate international trade and investment, promising broader economic benefits beyond the energy industry.

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