The success of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) natural gas project situated on offshore waters straddling Senegal and Mauritania lies not so much in the massive scale of the natural gas reserves discovered, but more so as an example of how two countries can cooperate in successfully co-developing joint natural resources.
In 2015, U.S. independent Kosmos Energy made a major natural gas discovery in an area located in the ultra-deep waters straddling Mauritania’s block C8 and Senegal’s Saint Louis Profond Block, revealing 15 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves. In December 2016, Kosmos Energy farmed out 61% of its GTA share to U.K. major BP. Now, the GTA field is being developed as a Liquefied Natural Gas export project with BP as the operator.
When major oil and gas discoveries began taking place from 2015 onwards, many international stakeholders were skeptical about the short to medium-term viability of the GTA, simply because the gas field lay between the two countries. But in fact, Senegal and Mauritania have demonstrated that good diplomacy and high-level dialogue can avoid cross-border natural resource disputes with high-level discussions between the two presidencies, parliaments and respective ministries representing not only a viable but crucial approach.
Accordingly, communication has and continues to be key. Regular high-level discussions continue to lead to the best possible coordination and cooperation that will further ensure the long-term viability of the GTA gas project. According to Sahara Media, collaboratively, parliamentarians from both countries have touched upon a variety of pressing issues including transparency, the state of progress of the project, and efforts underway to ensure transparency and good governance at every stage of GTA.
During a meeting that took place on November 21st in Nouakchott, Mauritani, parliamentarians of both countries made a number of important recommendations for the future of the GTA project, one of which included the creation of a joint investment fund for the future joint exploitation of the GTA project. In addition to calling for continued close cooperation between all stakeholders, the two countries explicated the need to have increased involvement from civil society, universities, and exploration and production companies.
High-level meetings between the countries demonstrate the close ties binding Mauritania and Senegal, particularly within the cultural, political, social, and now, economical spheres. Backed by a history of successful cooperation in many sectors – from mining to fisheries – the strong relationship between the two has now extended into the mineral resource sector, enabling the successful development of the joint GTA project.
With a high-level delegation from Mauritania participating at MSGBC, Oil, Gas, & Power 2021 – taking place in Dakar, Senegal on the 16th -17th of December –, dedicated panels and project updates on the GTA project will further emphasize the project’s role and value for both Mauritania and Senegal.