Mozambican NGO questions Petroinveste and Namoza participation in Angoche oil blocks licensing round

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(2015-09-23) The inclusion of Petroinveste in the winning proposal of the fifth oil blocks licensing round could jeopardize Mozambique’s reputation for good governance in the natural resources sector, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP) has warned.

Petroinveste is owned by figures linked to Frelimo, the party in power in Mozambique.

CIP’s opinion is presented in an article published this week, commenting on the closing for tenders of the fifth licensing round, where multinational oil companies compete for the potentially oil-rich blocks.

The two main blocks in the licensing round are located in Angoche, in the northern province of Nampula. The main bidders, according to CIP’s article, are ENI, Exxon and Total.

When the competition was launched in London in 2014, there was an indication that proposals from consortiums of between two to four companies which included a local partner would be preferred.

But contrary to the expectations of the Mozambican authorities and the hopes of local entrepreneurs, multinationals’ bids for the two blocks did not include domestic companies.

The CIP says that multinationals have opted not to ally themselves with the local businesses for fear of coming into conflict with international anti-corruption laws, “as was the case with Cobalt and its association with local companies in Angola”.

According to CIP, in this round “there was no indication that local businesses would be allowed to compete in the non-operators category,” but “surprisingly, two national companies (Petroinvest Mozambique SA and Namoza Natural Resources Ltd) presented proposals as non-operators”.

Namoza Natural Resources Ltd, CIP discovered, was registered in February this year, and has links with General Martin Shalli, former Commander in Chief of the Namibian Defence Force.

According to the CIP, Petroinveste, created in 2014, has Frelimo veterans Alberto Chipande and Raimundo Pachiunuapa on its board of directors, and “its oil credentials are not known”.

The competition results will be announced by the end of the year. According to the CIP, “there is now speculation” that a national company will join forces with the winning consortium.

As a result, Petroinveste, which “failed to achieve inclusion in any of the multinational competing proposals, expects to be allocated a 15 per cent stake in any of the winning proposals,” the Mozambican non governmental organization organization says.

Source: VOA Português

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