Italian energy company Eni has launched the Congo LNG project, which will be the first natural gas liquefaction project in the Republic of the Congo.

The midstream project, which will transform Congo into a natural gas exporter, is expected to see an investment of $5bn, reported Reuters.

The foundation stone of the Congo LNG project was laid by Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi and Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

According to the Italian oil and gas firm, the project is one of its core supply diversification initiatives.

The midstream asset is anticipated to achieve an overall production capacity of three million tonnes per year (4.5 billion cubic meters/year) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from 2025.

Congo LNG will be fed with gas drawn from the resources of the offshore Marine XII concession. It is expected to meet the electricity generation requirements of Congo.

Besides, the project will fuel LNG exports by delivering new volumes of gas to global markets with a focus on Europe.

Claudio Descalzi said: “Today we celebrate the launch of one of Eni’s main projects, made possible by the collaboration with the Republic of the Congo and destined to significantly contribute to both Italy and Europe’s energy security and industrial competitiveness.

“This outcome speaks to the importance of long-term collaboration with our African partners at a time when important strategic choices need to be made in regards to future diversification of supply routes and European energy mixes, in the direction of energy accessibility and availability and progressive decarbonisation.”

As part of the Congo LNG project, Eni will install two floating natural gas liquefaction plants (FLNG) at the producing Nenè Marine and Litchendjili Marine fields and at the fields that are yet to be developed.

The first FLNG plant, dubbed Tango, which is presently going through conversion, will have a capacity of 0.6 million tonnes per year (MTPA). It will start production this year.

Eni acquired the Tango FLNG from Exmar Group in August 2022.

The second FLNG facility, which is currently under construction, will commence operations in 2025. It will have a production capacity of 2.4MTPA.

In December 2022, Eni signed a contract with Wison Heavy Industry for the construction and installation of the 380m long and 60m wide FLNG vessel. The unit will have a storage capacity of more than 180,000m³ of LNG and 45,000m³ of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).