Mozambique highlights potential of new oil and gas prospecting areas

Moçambique frisa potencial de novas áreas de prospecção de petróleo e gás

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, told Lusa that the new oil and gas prospecting areas in the country are showing preliminary signs of potential for exploration.

"There are some prospect [signs] of the resource potential," Max Tonela told Lusa, namely with regard to data from "analysis and seismic information collected so far."

Tonela said that the concessionaires of the new research areas should open the first boreholes by the end of this year and have already made investments greater than those required by the contracts signed with the Mozambican government.

"Companies are making [investments] beyond what was planned, in terms of volume of seismic information," he added.

The limitations imposed within the framework of covid-19 prevention and the consequent implications for the mobility of technicians, he continued, have prevented further progress in the work.

The licenses to prospect off the central and northern coast of Mozambique are awarded to consortiums involving oil companies ExxonMobil, ENI, Rosneft and Qatar Petroleum, as well as the state-owned Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH).

Mozambique already has natural gas reserves that are among the largest in the world, in the Rovuma basin in the north of the country, and also has deposits under exploration in the Inhambane province in the south.

The Rovuma project, led by Total, was the largest private investment in Africa until it was suspended in March due to armed attacks in Cabo Delgado, north of the country - some claimed by the 'jihadist' group Islamic State.

In late June, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy reiterated at a Southern African Development Community (SADC) business forum the focus on hydrocarbons, commenting on concerns over the growing movement against fossil fuel pollution.

Max Tonela considered that gas is, among fossil energies, the one that pollutes the least, and that it is a platform for the energy transition to clean energies.

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