BP plc and its partners on Friday said they have sanctioned the initial phase of an innovative cross-border natural gas export project, which would produce from a deepwater development offshore West Africa beginning as soon as 2022.

The final investment decision (FID) for Phase 1 of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim development, designed to provide 2.5 million metric tons/year of gas, was made following agreement between the Mauritanian and Senegalese governments, as well as BP and its partners, which include Dallas-based Kosmos Energy Ltd.

In addition to Kosmos, which is helmed by former BP exploration chief Andy Inglis, BP also is partnering with national oil companies Petrosen of Senegal and Mauritania’s SMHPM.

“Achieving sanction for the groundbreaking Greater Tortue Ahmeyim development, and at such a fast pace, is testament to the dynamic partnership working together to bring this innovative project onstream and establish a new deepwater gas value chain,” said BP upstream CEO Bernard Looney. “It represents the beginning of a multi-phase project that is expected to deliver LNG revenues and gas to Africa and beyond for decades to come.”

BP Gas Marketing was selected as the sole buyer for LNG offtake for Tortue Phase 1.

Tortue is to produce gas from an ultra-deepwater subsea system and mid-water floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which would process the gas, removing heavier hydrocarbon components. The gas then is to be transferred to a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility at an innovative nearshore hub on the Mauritania and Senegal maritime border.

Total gas resources in the field are estimated to be around 15 Tcf.

The project, the first major gas project to reach FID in the basin, is planned to provide LNG for global export as well as making gas available for domestic use in Mauritania and Senegal.

Once the initial phase is under development, expected in early 2019, the parties plan to finalize additional agreements and regulatory approvals.