Chariot Energy’s Industry-Led Energy Transition
With a change of management during the pandemic, we’ve switched up our portfolio, embracing gas developments as a stepping stone to zero carbon power and going further with green hydrogen and renewable projects
We have a very entrepreneurial team at Chariot and we hope to move fast, holding a significant first mover advantage in the green energy sector in Africa
Energy, Capital & Power (https://EnergyCapitalPower.com) spoke with Julian Maurice-Williams, Chief Financial Officer at the Chariot Energy Group about Africa’s energy transition, the respective roles of renewables, green hydrogen and natural gas therein, and the need for investment and policy support.
Chariot is in the business of transitional energy. What does this mean for Africa?
Africa’s circumstance is unique: 1.4 billion people, a mere 43% of which have access to electricity. This is less than half the global average, and the situation will not resolve itself, population growth is projected to put a further 700 million people on the continent in the next thirty years.
Climate change is disproportionately affecting these communities despite their doing the least to cause it, and the continent receives a mere 4% of global climate funding. This is the challenge. But there is also opportunity. Africa is positioned to fast-track its industrialization and growth through sustainable development, provided sufficient power volume at the right price point, reliably supplied.
Enter Chariot. Because as Africa moves towards a decarbonized future, we too have transitioned. Previously, Chariot was an oil group whose business was exploration for large offshore oil prospects. But with a change of management during the pandemic, we’ve switched up our portfolio, embracing gas developments as a stepping stone to zero carbon power and going further with green hydrogen and renewable projects. We’re taking on these game-changing energy works and seeing them through their entire lifecycle from conception to production and thereafter, emphasizing power supply to domestic markets but also looking internationally as Europe has opened up.
We’ve got our flagship Anchois gas project off the Moroccan coast for which we recently raised $25.5 million and hope to make a final investment decision within 12 months, targeting first gas by the end of 2024. This will primarily supply Moroccan energy needs but also potentially export to Europe via a pipeline that goes from Morocco up into Spain. We’re also working with the mining sector across Africa. We’ve got an operational project in Burkina Faso providing 15MW in renewables to a gold mine there. We’re developing a 40MW solar project with a platinum mine in South Africa and most recently, we’ve landed a 430MW solar and wind project in Zambia.
Chariot’s 10GW Project Nour in Mauritania has the potential to become the largest green hydrogen export operation in Africa. Could you speak more to the project and its timeline?
Certainly. We recently announced that our pre-feasibility study had been completed on Project Nour greenlighting further development. We signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mauritanian government last year which gave us exclusive rights to a large acreage position for wind and solar power generation for which Mauritania is truly world-class. This 10GW of green power will drive the electrolysis splitting water to create the hydrogen which may then be converted to ammonia or used in green steel production. Our project will also help provide baseload power to the Mauritanian grid.
As for next steps, we’ll be running a full feasibility study which is likely to run over the next two years. Project Nour is a major development, potentially the largest green hydrogen project in Africa, so we’ll be tackling it in stages and building a world-class consortium of partners to see it through. All the right elements are there: a hungry domestic power grid and proximity to European markets, abundant solar and wind, and excellent government backing so we’re enthusiastic about the future of Project Nour, which is a uniquely cost-effective green hydrogen project.
The theme for this year’s MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power Conference is “The Future of Natural Gas: Growth Using Strategic Investment and Policymaking.” How can policymakers further support the future of gas in the energy transition?
What we need is for governments to recognize these renewables, gas and hydrogen works as projects of national significance- Mauritania does this. So too does Morocco, and we are very fortunate to have strong relationships with both governments. For instance, the end of last year with the rise of the Omicron variant saw many countries close their borders at a time when we were undertaking our gas drilling campaign offshore Morocco. But we worked with the government and managed through that partnership to get the 200 or so people we needed into the country and out to the rig, allowing work to be completed on time and on budget.
And finally, what can we expect to see from Chariot over the coming decade?
We have a very entrepreneurial team at Chariot and we hope to move fast, holding a significant first mover advantage in the green energy sector in Africa. In Morocco, there are lots of further low-risk gas prospects close to our current discovery which certainly could merit commercial extraction. We’ve got a long-term partnership with Total Eren allowing us to co-develop renewable projects with them for mines in Africa, taking a 15-49% share. And we may also look to expand into other industries beyond mining since energy is so intersectional, working directly with other industries to bring them the power solutions they need to scale, and always working to write an ambitious narrative around Africa’s energy transition.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Energy Capital & Power.
About MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2022 (https://bit.ly/3tnLmXW):
Under the patronage of H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power will once again take place in Dakar, Senegal, with the event serving as a catalyst for investment and multi-sector development in 2022. To find out more visit MSGBCOilGasandPower.com or contact email@example.com.