Communication - Presse

First shipment of LNG from Rovuma basin seen this month

Mozambique expects in the next two weeks to fill up the first tanker of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be exported from the Rovuma basin, off Cabo Delgado province, the country’s minister of economy and finance, Max Tonela, told Lusa.

“We hope that before the end of this month of October the first export of liquefied natural gas produced by the country will take place,” the minister said in an interview with Lusa in Washington, on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund.

Of the three liquefied natural gas projects approved for the northern region of Mozambique, it is the Coral Sul platform, on the high seas, far from the armed violence in Cabo Delgado, that is set to be the first to export gas from reserves that are among the largest in the world.

READ: Mozambique: Two LNG tankers due to arrive in Pemba this week – report

The platform, which is overseen by a consortium led by Italy’s Eni, is expected to produce 3.4 million tons of gas per year.

The gas has already started to be processed on the platform, and awaits the arrival of the first cargo ship from BP, which has signed a contract to buy the production for 20 years.

The other two, larger projects, led by TotalEnergies and Exxon/Eni, have liquefaction plants planned for onshore, on the Afungi peninsula, but await final decisions by the oil companies to go ahead.

The TotalEnergies project was underway but was suspended in March 2021, due to armed attacks in the Cabo Delgado region.

Tonela says that the recent military intervention and other ongoing investments in the region aim to stabilise the situation, protect the population, and allow the investment to move forward. But as demand for gas has skyrocketed in the meantime, due to the war in Ukraine, the government says it is “discussing other scenarios” that could make it possible soon to take advantage of the Rovuma reserves – as Tonela made clear when asked directly about the possibility of there being more offshore projects.

“We have prioritised ensuring the resumption of the construction work of the two onshore liquefaction lines, promoted by Area 1, and all the work that has been carried out aims to recover the situation of normality for families, for the affected populations, but also to promote investments that will result in a more sustained development of the region,” he said. “Among the projects is the resumption of Total, but taking into account the volume of gas resources that exist and the challenges at the global level of demand and diversification of sources, the government is ready to discuss other scenarios that do not jeopardise the development of onshore projects.”

Thore Kristiansen, executive director at Portugal’s Galp Energia – which is part of the consortium led by Eni – said a year ago, at the launching ceremony of the Coral Sul platform, in the Geoje shipyard, South Korea, that it might be worth studying the possibility of installing a second gas platform in the open sea in the Rovuma basin, in view of the difficult security situation in Cabo Delgado.

At the time, Europe was not yet looking for alternatives to Russian gas, as it has been doing since the invasion of Ukraine.

Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, also said in early September that the new global scenario may be an added reason to rethink the issue.

“We made the first platform: what is the possibility of making another one? There are studies in that direction” among the measures “to accelerate” the production of those reserves, he said.



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