Maputo — Mozambique Rovuma Venture (MRV), a consortium owned by the Italian energy company ENI, the US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), on Tuesday announced its initial investment decision that includes the construction of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, with the capacity to produce 15.2 million tonnes of LNG per year.
The gas comes from Rovuma Basin Offshore Area Four, in which ENI is the operator. MRV is separate from ENI’s Coral South floating LNG project. This is an LNG platform that will float above the Coral South gas field in Area Four, and is expected to come into production in 2022.
The total MRV investment is expected to be in the order of 23 billion US dollars. The onshore LNG plants (known as “trains”) will be built in the Afungi peninsula, in Palma district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi attended the Tuesday ceremony, at which engineering and procurement contracts were also awarded. Nyusi said this initial commitment is an important landmark on the path towards a final investment decision which is expected to be announced in the first half of 2020.
“This means that the LNG project in Area Four of the Rovuma Basin meets the conditions for advancing to the following phases of construction, development, production and marketing”, said the President.
During the construction phase, he added, the project will employ about 5,000 Mozambicans, and he expected the increase in the country’s gross domestic product “to speed up our capacity to respond to the problems that affect Mozambicans”.
Nyusi said the oil and gas sector can catalyse the development of basic infrastructures in other sectors of the economy such as agriculture and agro-processing, allowing many families to progress from subsistence agriculture to commercial farming.
He warned that, with the oil and gas industry, it can take many years from the discovery of resources to the production of visible benefits. Thus the discovery of huge reserves of gas in the Rovuma Basin occurred in 2011/2013, and about 1.5 billion dollars was spent on seismic exploration alone. But no gas has yet been produced, and the earliest forecast for the start of production is 2022.
“The good news about the transformative impact of this project is creating enormous expectations among us”, he said. “But I have said before, and I repeat again, there are countries which have been exploiting natural resources for many years, but the majority of their population remain sunk in poverty. We want to and we should be different”.