Mozambican economist Rui Mate told Lusa today, 17 March, that the country needs to work to seize new opportunities in the natural gas market, with Europe seeking to diversify energy sources following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Europe is starting to want to depend less on Russia,” but “Mozambique needs to create mechanisms to attract this opportunity, mainly with regard to security,” said the analyst from Mozambican non-governmental organisation (NGO) Centro de Integridade Pública (CIP).
“As soon as possible, stability must be created in Cabo Delgado,” the province in northern Mozambique that is home to the largest gas exploration projects, suspended due to armed violence in the region, he advocated.
The gas from approved projects already has a destination, with previously established sales contracts, but Rui Mate noted that there are still areas that will be the target of prospecting.
“The prospecting processes should now be more dynamic and, if it is found that there is more gas and in considerable quantities, Mozambique should take another position at the negotiating table with these multinationals,” he said.
João Mosca, an economist and university professor, is more sceptical about the opportunities that Mozambique may have in the face of the sanctions imposed on Russia.
“There are no ways in which Mozambique can take advantage of this crisis to be an alternative on the international market. The gas in the North is still conditioned to several factors […], exploration in high volumes is not immediate,” he said.
In other words, “Mozambique has no capacity to respond: its capacity to respond is in the world’s large reserves, such as Venezuela and Iran,” Mosca added.
The Portuguese-speaking Indian Ocean country has called for dialogue between Ukraine and Russia, without condemnation from either side, something Mosca considers “understandable” because the country “receives support from both sides” – Russian support and from western countries.
“Everyone involved here is extremely cooperative [for Mozambique], there are large volumes of financial resources. I understand that Mozambique currently wants to opt for a neutral game in its ‘realpolitik’,” Mosca stressed.
On 24 February, Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine which has caused at least 726 deaths and more than 1,170 wounded, including dozens of children, and caused the flight of some 4.8 million people, including three million to neighbouring countries, according to the latest UN figures.
The Russian invasion was condemned by the international community in general, which responded by sending arms to Ukraine and strengthening economic and political sanctions against Moscow.