The Coral-Sul Floating LNG (FLNG) terminal operated by Eni SpA offshore Mozambique has loaded its first cargo, marking a long-awaited debut as European buyers scramble for natural gas sources.

The first liquefied natural gas volumes from the Coral-South project were loaded on a BP plc ship; the supermajor has long-term offtake agreements for all production from the 3.4 million metric tons/year (mmty) facility.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi called the first cargo a “new and significant” step in the firm’s strategy to improve Europe’s energy security outlook “through the increasing diversification of supplies, while also supporting a just and sustainable transition.”

Operations at Coral-Sul were ramping up over the last two weeks after delays pushed back the project’s launch from early September. The vessel British Sponsor, which departed from the terminal Sunday, had been offshore Mozambique since late last month. The project was initially scheduled to begin loading in September, according to Mozambique Minister Carlos Zacarias of Energy and Mineral Resources.

European gas buyers and portfolio players are looking for more volumes from diverse locations as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to strain global energy markets.

”This new supply source further enhances BP’s capability to deliver LNG to markets across the world and we look forward to continuing our close collaboration with all those involved in the project,” said BP’s Carol Howle, executive vice president of Trading and Shipping.

Eni discovered the Coral South gas field in 2012 and is the operator with partners ExxonMobil, China National Petroleum Corp., Galp Energia SGPS SA and Korea Gas Corp. Mozambique’s Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos also hold interests. The Coral-Sul project was sanctioned in 2017.
The Coral-Sul vessel is the first of three planned LNG projects in Mozambique that was not delayed by security issues in the country. The East African nation could have a production capacity of 30 mmty if the other planned projects are eventually completed.