Total projected investment in natural gas operations in the Rovuma Basin, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, now stands at US$31 billion, according to Omar Mitha, chairperson of the National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH).
Most of this will be consumed in Rovuma Basin Offshore Area One, where the operator is the American company Anadarko.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference launching the celebrations of the 35th anniversary of ENH, Mitha said that about US$4 billion has already been invested and the figure for Area One could reach US$24 billion in the coming years.
He broke this sum down as US$5.6 billion for the preliminary exploration, US$10 billion for building two gas liquefaction plants (known as “trains”), US$3.3 billion for later development studies, US$4.4 billion in interest and bank fees, and US$2.6 billion as contingency funds.
Mitha expected Anadarko and its partners to make the final investment decision in the first quarter of 2016, which will then be followed by financial closure with the sindicate of banks financing the project. He estimated that building the gas liquefaction facilities will take five years as from 2016.
The operation will be 55 per cent funded by bank loans and 45 per cent by own capital from Anadarko and the other members of its consortium. That will include ENH which has a 15 per cent stake in Area One. Mitha admitted that ENH does not have the liquidity to pay for its 15 per cent of the investment costs and is looking into options for funding.
The investment needs for Area Four, where the operator is the Italian energy company ENI, are much smaller. Mitha put them at US$7 billion “all supported by financial leverage”. ENH only has a ten per cent stake in Area Four.
While Anadarko is committed to building its liquefaction trains onshore, in the Afungi peninsula in Palma district, ENI plans to set up a floating liquefaction factory (FLNG) adjacent to its wells.
“With these investments”, Mitha said, “Mozambique will increase its capacity to export gas, and to develop industry through projects to generate energy, and to produce fertilizers and liquid fuels. This will increase income for the state, create job opportunities, and provide opinions for the provision of services by Mozambican businesses”.
ENH is also a partner of the South African petro-chemical company SASOL in exploiting the onshore gas reserves in the Pande and Temane fields in the southern province of Inhambane. Installed capacity here is currently 183 million gigajoules a year. Most of this is piped to SASOL’s plants in South Africa, but 1.5 million gigajoules a year is used in Mozambique.
Electricity generated from the Inhambane gas initially reached just 100 households in the northern districts of Inhambane in 2004, but that figure has now risen to 980 households (about 4,000 people). This source of energy, Mitha pointed out, is 40 to 50 per cent cheaper than buying firewood or bottled gas.
The Inhambane gas is now being distributed in Maputo and Matola cities and the adjacent district of Inhambane. Initially, the gas is being piped to industries and commercial establishments, but distributions to homes should begin by the end of this year.
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