Total Looks at Downstream in Morocco, S.Africa to Spur Gas Demand

Reuters, June 9, 2017

France's Total SA is looking to invest in gas and power infrastructure projects in Morocco and South Africa as it seeks to open new markets, the company's head of gas said on Thursday. Total will roughly double its liquefied natural gas (LNG) portfolio by 2020 to 15 million tonnes per year, but the company needs to look at deals that will give it footholds in new markets and capture new gas buyers, Laurent Vivier said.

Morocco plans to build a project, worth up to $4.6 billion, which includes the import of up to 7 billion cubic metres of gas by 2025, the construction of a jetty, terminal, pipelines and gas-fired power plants with capacity to produce up to 2,400 megawatts of electricity. In January, Moroccan state-owned power utility ONEE picked HSBC as financial adviser for the project.

"Morocco wants to launch an onshore LNG terminal along with the power (infrastructure) behind it, and it wants the same company to be involved in all of this," Vivier told Reuters during a visit to Copenhagen. "If we said that we are not interested in power generation, we'd have to say no to these kinds of projects." He added that Total is also interested in a similar project in South Africa, where the government plans a 50 billion rand ($3.9 billion) gas-to-power development that will require 1.6 million tonnes a year of gas imports.

Total will take minority stakes in such projects, he said, noting that an average 400-megawatt combined-cycle power plant costs roughly $300 million to build.

"As long as it's an integrated project and we can place our own production of gas in those projects, we are happy to look at this," Vivier said.

In 2015, Total decided to remove coal-related businesses from its portfolio and said a move to gas from coal for energy can cut carbon emissions by 50 percent, a quick win for countries aiming to meet carbon emission reduction targets. ($1 = 12.8595 rand)

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Additional reporting by Bate Felix in Paris; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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