Mozambique expects to fill in the next two weeks the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo ship exported from the Rovuma basin, off Cabo Delgado, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Max Tonela confirmed to 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,” he said in an interview with Lusa in the US capital, Washington, on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Of the three liquefied natural gas projects approved for the northern region of the country, the Coral Sul platform will be the first to export the reserves that are catalogued among the largest in the world.
The platform led by the Italian oil company Eni will produce 3.4 million tons per year. Gas has already begun to be processed on the platform, and the first cargo ship from BP, which bought the production for 20 years, is expected to arrive.
The other two larger projects, led by TotalEnergies and Exxon/Eni, have liquefaction plants planned for onshore, on the Afungi peninsula, but are waiting for decisions by the oil companies to go ahead.
The TotalEnergies project was already underway and was suspended in March 2021 due to armed attacks in the Cabo Delgado region.
Max Tonela says that the military intervention and other ongoing investments in the region aim to stabilize it, protect the population and allow the investment to move forward, but as, in the meantime, the demand for gas has skyrocketed due to the war in Ukraine, the Government admits to “discuss other scenarios” that allow, as soon as possible, to take advantage of the Rovuma reserves.
“The Government is available to discuss other scenarios that do not endanger the development of onshore projects”
The possibility was admitted when asked directly about the possibility of having more projects offshore.
“We have prioritized ensuring the resumption of construction work on the two onshore liquefaction lines, promoted by Area 1, and all the work that has been taking place is aimed at recovering the situation of normalcy for families, for the affected populations, but also to promote the investments that will result in a more sustained development of the region.”
“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 available to discuss other scenarios that do not undermine the development of onshore projects,” he concluded.
Thore Kristiansen, director of Galp (which is part of the consortium led by Eni) said a year ago, at the launching ceremony of the Coral Sul platform, in the shipyards of Geoje, South Korea, that it might be worth studying the possibility of installing a second gas platform in the open sea in the Rovuma basin, given the insecurity 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.
The President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, admitted in early September that the new global scenario is an added reason to think about it.
“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 mentioned.