Baraka Petroleum proposes Mauritanian pipeline

Mauritania is considering a proposal submitted by Baraka Petroleum Ltd., Perth, to assist in the development of a proposed Mauritanian oil and gas pipeline system.

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Feb. 9 -- Mauritania is considering a proposal submitted by Baraka Petroleum Ltd., Perth, to assist in the development of a proposed Mauritanian oil and gas pipeline system. Such a transportation system would accelerate the development of the country's oil and gas reserves, Baraka said.

The pipeline system envisaged includes a pipeline link from the Taoudeni region in the east to the town of Zouerate in the northwest and another link extending south to Nema and from there, west to the capital Nouakschott on the coast. Spurs could be built to feed other settlements along the route. Nema also could become a hub for a southern link to neighboring Mali.

The proposal was first presented to Mauritanian authorities in 2006 and 2007 and was most recently presented to the current government last November. The proposal is in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop regulations for transporting hydrocarbons in Mauritania and for the development of the oil and gas pipeline system in the country.

The MOU proposes that a new company, sponsored by Baraka in conjunction with the government, would plan, organize, and manage the formulation of suitable regulatory laws and regulations to make it possible for Mauritania to develop the Taoudeni reserves (still to be delineated) through the construction of a pipeline system. The system would benefit Mauritanians and enable them to negotiate development and transit agreements for gas and oil from bordering countries, including Mali, Algeria, and Senegal.

In exchange Mauritania would grant the new company the exclusive right to the hydrocarbon corridors within the country as well as the right to construct a pipeline system in the country on open access principles.

Other details that were reported included:

-- The new company will be a dedicated Mauritanian company with significant local ownership and Baraka as the founding shareholder.

-- The company will be independent and not associated with any national oil company.

-- The codes will set out a transparent tariff structure for transporting oil and gas in Mauritania and will ensure that tariff charges are not excessive.

The pipeline company is the brainchild of Baraka Chairman Max de Vietri, who has long been a pioneer of the oil and gas industry in Mauritania. He says the proposal complements Baraka's longstanding efforts to promote the onshore Taoudeni basin and the Mauritanian petroleum industry. Baraka has exploration interests in the Taoudeni basin adjacent to Mali' eastern border.

De Vietri said the project would greatly benefit Mauritania both as a major source of employment and as a catalyst for the exchange of technology and knowledge. It would also be a source of income through transit fees, royalties, and taxes quite apart from revenue gained from the sale of oil and gas produced from the region.

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