Mozambique steps up oil search
By Jonathan Davis
By Jonathan Davis
Mozambique plans intensive oil and gas exploration in its northern and central areas and tenders could be offered by the end of the year if discoveries are made, a senior energy official said today.
Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Abdul Razak told Reuters there is potential for gas in the Rovuma river basin that marks the Tanzanian border and in the Zambezi delta and more drilling would be needed to find oil and gas deposits.
"We need to intensify our search for oil and gas this year in those areas... there are some blocks which we are evaluating and eventually we will award licences towards the end of this year through international tenders," Razak said.
He said the Rovuma basin would be divided into seven blocks in a bid to attract the greatest possible number of companies, and maximise assessment of the area's potential.
Four international companies, Canada's Artumas Group, US-based Anadarko Petroleum, Italy's Eni, and Petronas of Malaysiahave, won tenders to prospect for oil and gas in the Rovuma Basin in northern Mozambique.
The companies are expected to invest a total of about $300 million and to sink eight exploratory wells in the five blocks awarded to them over the next eight years.
Razak said there where indications of both oil and gas in the Zambezi delta and there are hopes of finding heavy oil in other projects planned for this year.
Mozambique has two existing onshore natural gas fields - Pande and Temane in the southern Inhambane region - where South African firm Sasol has invested about $1.2 billion.
Energy generation is a lucrative business as the entire southern African region now faces chronic power shortages stretched by a rapidly growing industrial sector. In Mozambique alone a number of major projects have been put on hold due to lack of sufficient electrical power. Sasol and Mozambique's Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) have agreed to embark on further gas and oil exploration in Mozambique. The work is being conducted in Inhambane, east of the existing Pande and Temane reserves and close to a Sasol pipeline exporting gas to South Africa.
17:52 GMT, 05 January 2007 last updated: 23:39 GMT, 05 January 2007 (Upstreamonline)