Planned pipeline from Pointe-Noire to Oyo: 1,400 kilometres
Planned pipeline from Mozambique to South Africa: 450 kilometres
Regional pipeline connectionsNovember 30, 2016
TOGY talks to Jean Cousquer, Congo country manager for SICIM, about the country operations in Congo, its expansion plans, and where the local market might be heading in 2017. SICIM is an Italian engineering and construction company that works with clients such as Total and the Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC) in Congo.
How do you evaluate your project in Djeno with Total?
The pipeline we built in Djeno for Total was finished in March 2016, and it was quite difficult building a pipeline inside an existing plant, especially as working with an old plant, not knowing what is underground posed challenges. Thus most work was done by hand, not by machine.
Under normal conditions, it would take us one month to build a 1.2-kilometre-long pipeline, but this pipeline took us more than a year. The HSE [Health, Safety and Environmental protection] procedures posed special difficulties, making work in this plant particularly difficult. We employed about 50 to 60 people for this project, and the budget was EUR 2 million.
What future projects are in store for 2017?
We expect to build a big pipeline for SNPC which will stretch 1,400 kilometres from Pointe-Noire in the south to Oyo in the north. Other than this potential project, for 2017 we have maintenance and multi-disciplinary projects with Eni Congo. We have a maintenance contract with Eni Congo for the oil plant in M’Boundi, as well as a multi-disciplinary contract for work in shore protection.
We also expect to start a relationship between SICIM and Perenco, for which we are currently at the first stage of discussions. The first step for me is to introduce them to SICIM, show them what we are doing with Eni and Total, and demonstrate our local EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] abilities. We are at the beginning with Perenco and must first of all approach them and show our portfolio. We need to register our company with them, see what they need and what are Perenco’s offshore operations requirements.
What are SICIM’s regional plans?
We are looking to develop many projects in Mozambique, as well as in Chad. We continue to work in Cameroon, where we are looking for some new projects. Two years ago, we did a pipeline in Cameroon, so we will see what else we can do. I will manage all this from Pointe-Noire, because we have the structure and everything we need here. We will do one project for now, and then we will see. I believe Mozambique has a huge future in oil and gas, but for the time being, many projects are on hold. I am waiting for some feedback. I will go over there because there is a pipeline starting in Maputo and going to South Africa. We have to be involved in this.
The pipeline will run for 80 kilometres through Mozambique, with another part in South Africa. It is a 450-kilometre pipeline, including two compressor stations. This is quite a big project, budgeted for USD 1.3 billion.
What would be the scope of the pipelines in Chad?
In Chad, there is a project that is starting to make the link from the south of the country to Djibouti, covering a significant area, with all these links. They are going to build a huge plant in northern Chad covering Sudan, and they want to make the link in Chad and also some links that are under discussion with Cameroon including that second pipeline.
How significant is the Congo to SICIM operations?
The strategy of SICIM is to invest in Congo. We have a camp and a plant in M’Boundi and Litchendjili. We will stay in the Congo. In this part of Africa, this is the main structure. It is better to get everything here around Pointe-Noire, and then to have a look around at what is going on and manage from here. All our administration and operations are here, so it is easier to manage from here. We spent a great deal of money to achieve that, so it is better to continue in this way while the going is good.
We intend to benefit from what we invested here, and to continue. We do not have a main structure in Chad or in Cameroon. We do have a small office in Douala in Cameroon, but here it is quite big. We need to be centred somewhere. SICIM wants to stay in Africa, so we will see. We are looking at Ghana. It is not so far, or rather it is far, but we can also manage and have a look at what will happen in this country. ENI also has some projects over there. We can accomplish many things from here at this stage.
What is your vision for SICIM in the Congo?
I believe that SICIM will continue to grow. We have invested in order to grow. I believe that Africa is a big player today in the oil and gas industry, and the future is here. We need to be patient and to develop more and more relationships with different countries in order to develop SICIM. Of course I believe that there is a future here.
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