Noble Energy has signed Heads of Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and third parties, establishing a framework for further develop the Alen natural gas field offshore Equatorial Guinea.

The agreement covers the commercial terms allowing Noble Energy to process the natural gas produced from Alen field, through Alba Plant’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant and EGLNG’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility. The two plants are located in Punta Europa.

Noble Energy executive vice-president for operations Gary W Willingham said: “This is a significant milestone as it marks the first step to monetising a substantial amount of gas from the Alen field through existing infrastructure on Bioko Island.

“This project will transform the Alen platform into an offshore hub for potential development of additional gas fields nearby. First production is anticipated early in the next decade.”

Noble Energy said that the contemplated structure would allow the Alen field partners and the EG LNG owners to gain access to global LNG markets.

To process the Alen gas, the current production and processing facilities at the Alen platform and Punta Europa will need some minor modifications.

As per the deal, Noble Energy will develop a 65km pipeline to transport gas from the Alen platform to Punta Europa facility. The pipeline will have capacity to handle production from several fields.

Located in Blocks O and I, the Alen field commenced production of natural gas and condensate since 2013. The resulting natural gas is re-injected into the reservoir to boost liquids recovery.

The company expects to recover an incremental 600 billion cubic feet of gross natural gas equivalent resources from the Alen field as a result of the project.

Noble Energy operates the Alen field with a 45% stake as well as 28% non-operated interest in the Alba Plant.