Angola has scored Africa’s first liquefied natural gas terminal.
In May Angolan state oil company Sonangol announced that the LNG tanker Sambizanga had arrived to test gas loading and connection facilities at Soyo, Angola’s port at the mouth of the Congo River.
Soyo in northern Zaire province is where Sonangol and Chevron have established a $4 billion, 5.2 million ton per annum LNG plant. Surprisingly, its intended market is not East Asia, where LNG use has been growing by leaps and bounds each year, but rather the U.S., with the first LNG being sent from the Soyo facility to the Gulf LNG Mississippi regasification terminal, under construction near Pascagoula, Mississippi for U.S. sales. The Soyo LNG plant will come online shortly.
The future seems sunny, as Angola is the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies due to an on-going hydrocarbon expansion that led to Angola’s decision in 2007 to join OPEC. While Angolan initial LNG output from Soyo is destined for the U.S., the biggest customer for seaborne LNG is Japan, with annual imports of about 80 million tons, followed by South Korea and China, while Indian imports are also on the rise.