Mozambique’s state oil company has awarded lucrative exploration rights for fossil fuels off its Indian Ocean coastline, with energy giants Exxon Mobil, Italy’s Eni and South Africa’s Sasol among the winners.
Reuters reports that the companies won the bids in Mozambique’s fifth oil and gas round issued by the Institute of National Petroleum (INP) to explore a total of 15 blocks in some 74,259 sq km.
“Despite the unfavourable economic situation characterized by low prices of petroleum, the bids received have programs demonstrating that Mozambique is an attractive country with significant oil potential,” the INP said.
Mozambican officials expect more than $30 billion will be invested initially in the natural gas sector to build capacity to produce 20 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with first exports due to start in 2018.
The INP said it expected investments of around $700 million in the next four years.
The blocks on offer included three new areas of the northern Rovuma Basin, where Eni and U.S. oil major Anadarko Petroleum Corp are already developing multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects.
Mozambique will hold its next bidding rounds to explore new fossil fuel blocks in 2017, a senior official said on Thursday.
“Our strategy now is to do it every two years,” Jose Branquinho, the head of resource assessment at Mozambique’s INP told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Cape Town.