What does the MoU consist of?

According to an official press release by the Mauritanian government, Mauritania signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with British multinational oil and gas company BP on the studies for the development of a large-scale green hydrogen project.

The signing ceremony took place in the presence of H.E Mohamed Ould Ghazouan, President of Mauritania. The MoU was signed by Mr. Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Saleh, Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy, and by Mr. Bernard Looney, CEO of BP. Other members present included BP’s Executive Vice President of Gas and Low Carbon Energy, Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath; BP’s Executive Vice President of Production and Operations, Gordon Birrell; and BP’s Senior Vice President for Mauritania and Senegal, Emil Osmayilov.

Under   the   terms   of   the   MoU,   BP   undertakes   to   carry   out   technical   and commercial studies to assess the production potential of a large green hydrogen production project in Mauritania; the studies will notably cover the availability and quality of wind and solar resources in large areas in the northwest of the country.

The potential production capacity targeted by the project could reach up to 30 GW, for the production of 2 million tons per annum of green hydrogen per year, if the studies are conclusive. 

According to the Mauritanian government, the signing of this MoU is part of the country’s strategy to mobilize the country’s vast resources in gas, renewable energy and iron ore to build an integrated hub for the production and export of green hydrogen and its derivatives, ammonia in particular, as well as green steel.

Furthemore, Mauritania has established a roadmap for the development of hydrogen and aims to achieve universal access to clean and affordable electricity by 2030 and a renewable energy mix of 50%. BP and partners, including Mauritania’s Société Mauritanienne Des Hydrocarbures (SMH) are already collaborating in the development of the offshore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) project in common with the neighbouring nation of Senegal.

The development of this innovative offshore project on the border of Mauritania and Senegal was approved in 2018, and is set to produce around 2.3 million tonnes of LNG per year, with sufficient resources to support production for over 20 years.

Earlier this year, BP also announced the signature of an Exploration and Production Sharing Contract for the Bir Allah gas field in Mauritania.

According to Looney, “the MoU will not only strengthen the company’s footprint across the market, enabling BP to expand into the Mauritanian green hydrogen space, but improve the country’s energy supply while decarbonizing the overall energy industry”.

Moreover, Dotzenrath highlighted that “BP and Mauritania now intend to expand their partnership into low carbon energy by exploring the potential for a world-leading green hydrogen development, which could position Mauritania at the forefront of the energy transition. Together with the Mauritanian government, we will now work to understand how green hydrogen could best be delivered, applying our technical skills and expertise to help unlock the country’s clean energy potential”.

The MoU follows Mauritania closing a number of strategic deals with various energy companies and investors, including CWP Global and Chariot Transitional Energy, to turn the country into a global green hydrogen hub.

About the Author: Felipe Gaitán Michelsen