In the last decade, Mozambique has emerged as one of the
world’s fastest growing economies and there have been
significant discoveries of natural gas, mainly offshore. Plans
to monetise these reserves include construction of pipelines
and a liquefaction plant to enable exports. The country plans
to produce 34 million tonne of LNG from the Rovuma Area
1 offshore block. To be produced by the end of 2018, this
LNG equals to 136 million standard cubic meters per day of
gas, which is 50 per cent more than India’s current gas output.
Mozambique’s minister for mineral resources, Esperanca
Bias, speaks to Neeraj Dhankher and Deepak Sahu on what
lies in store for the world. Excerpts:
When is the fifth oil and gas
bidding round of Mozambique
expected to be launched?
It depends on the approval of law by
Parliament. We don’t want to start
discussions and then change track
because of updating of the law. I
know that private sector and
companies are willing to
have this bidding round.
But I promise that as
soon as Parliament will approve the law, we will launch a bid.
What is the proposed
amendment to the petroleum
law of Mozambique?
We feel some gaps in the law. The
existing provisions are being reviewed
to include LNG along with some other
When is the proposed
amendment likely to be
approved by Parliament?
My expectation is that Parliament
might approve it in the next session
which starts in February. I hope so.
How many oil and gas
blocks will be put up
We are still examining
if we will launch
blocks all over the
country. The number
of blocks to be
launched will depend
(on a lot of factors).
When is the first gas
expected from LNG project in
We are discussing with main
concessionaire- Anadarko and ENI.
As you may know, we are holding
discussions to make sure that in
2018 the first gas comes out. We are
working hard to make it possible
because we know the market is
nervous about that.
Are you in talks with other
countries for the same?
We are discussing with companies
from countries such as India, Japan
and even Mozambique.
LNG deals are mostly
commercial deals. Why is the
Mozambique government keen
to play a role in such deals?
We have Mozambique companies
which will be part of LNG projects
and these will be public sector
Is there any new tax which the
Mozambique government is
looking to levy in near future in
domestic oil and gas sector?
I cannot say that as of today. Even
if there is such a tax, we are always
discussing with private sector to make sure that we do not create obstacles
What is the proposed capacity of
the LNG plant?
Minimum will be two trains of 5 mmt
each. But it depends on the market and
the capacity to attract investments.
How much LNG has India
expressed to offtake from
It is early to say how much we will sell to India. It will depend on the
negotiation. If India asks for 10 mmt,
we will work together to achieve
this goal. If India needs 5 mmt, we
will work on that. So it depends on
I believe it may be close to
$16 per mmbtu.
Talking of coal blocks,
when does the Mozambique government plan to auction
coal fields in the fourth
We will launch a bid soon, probably
this year. And Indian companies will
be invited to be a part of it. It will
depend on how the companies are
doing work properly. I’m waiting to
see what Coal India Limited (CIL) is
doing. Not only CIL, but other Indian
companies in Mozambique as well.
We hope that CIL will say that in two
years we will start production. We
are looking at what the companies
have done so far. Some coal blocks
will probably be revoked as some
companies are sleeping on them.
These blocks will then be put in the
market through our bidding round.
Are there any plans to
allocate coal blocks to Indian
companies on the lines
of CIL on government-togovernment
No, when we have the blocks
available, we will launch the bid. To
make sure we will get good investors,
we prefer to launch the bid.
But are there ample coal
reserves in Mozambique
Yes. At present we have more than
20 companies looking for coal. It
means that potential is there and
we need to do more exploration to
increase our reserves.
What is your assessment of
Coal India with respect to work
conducted by it on the two coal
CIL is doing some exploration
activities. I don’t have the report but I
believe they are doing well.