Fitch Solutions: Mozambique to boost natural gas production and exports

Mozambique is set to become one of sub-Saharan Africa's main natural gas exporters, boosting its production in the region from 80.5 billion cubic meters to 135.2 this year, according to a report by consultancy Fitch Solutions.

Quoted by News to the MinuteThe consultancy said that the gas sector, namely "the expansion of liquefied natural gas export capacity", will receive most of the foreign investment in the coming years.

The consultant's report highlights Mozambique, Nigeria, Mauritania and Senegal as the main drivers of the rise in natural gas production and exports.

The mention of Mozambique is due to expectations that Eni's FLNG Coral project - the first of three - will come on stream in the second half of this year.

Analysts warn that the insecurity situation in the north of the country continues to pose a major risk to the return of TotalEnergies' operations and ExxonMobil's Final Investment Decision.

The sub-Saharan African region is "well placed to benefit from increased demand for its gas", they point out, recalling the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Europeans' desire to diversify their sources of gas purchases, seeking to move away from Russian gas.

In this context, Nigeria will be key, as it will account for almost half of the domestic demand for gas in the region, which needs more infrastructure to boost demand from its local inhabitants, something that policymakers have already realized and are trying to address, notes Fitch Solutions.

"The expansion of natural gas infrastructure is crucial to boosting demand in the region; some markets in the region are slowly making progress in this direction," they say, pointing to the example of Mozambique, which plans to build a "gas import terminal in the south [Matola LNG] from the beginning of this year that would give the country a reliable source of gas supply to ensure growing demand."

In the note, the analysts conclude that "although there are substantial initial costs in the construction phase, expanding the liquefied natural gas import infrastructure is essential to unlocking demand for natural gas in the region" and boosting exports.

Mozambique has three development projects approved to exploit the natural gas reserves in the Rovuma basin, classified among the largest in the world, off the coast of Cabo Delgado.

Two of these projects are larger and involve channeling the gas from the seabed to land, cooling it in a factory and exporting it by sea in a liquid state.

One is led by TotalEnergies (the Area 1 consortium) and work progressed until it was suspended indefinitely following an armed attack on Palma in March 2021, when the French energy company declared that it would only resume work when the area was safe.

The other is the still unannounced investment led by ExxonMobil and Eni (Area 4 consortium).

A third completed and smaller project also belongs to the Area 4 consortium and consists of a floating platform for capturing and processing gas for export, directly at sea, which started up in November 2022.

The floating platform is expected to produce 3.4 mtpa (million tons per year) of liquefied natural gas, Area 1 points to 13.12 mtpa and the onshore plan for Area 4 foresees 15 mtpa.

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