Picture: 123RF/ SCANRAIL
Picture: 123RF/ SCANRAIL

Mozambique has moved closer to becoming a player on the fast-growing global market for liquefied natural gas, eight years after the first major deep-water discovery there.

The development of hydrocarbon resources is crucial for the country, which has struggled in 2018 to service its debt.

While the liquefied natural gas projects will require tens of billions of dollars in funding and take years to develop, they offer a way to stimulate growth in one of the world’s poorest countries. Exxon Mobil and Eni said they had started marketing gas that would be produced from the planned Rovuma liquefied natural gas project. The companies expect to make a final decision on whether to proceed with the onshore plant in 2019.

Anadarko Petroleum, which said in April it had secured enough customers for its own project, planned to make its investment decision in the first half of 2019, executive vice-president Mitch Ingram said at the World Gas Conference in Washington on Wednesday.

Mozambique expected liquefied natural gas production to begin from the nation’s first development by the end of 2022, the government said in a presentation to creditors with whom it is trying to restructure its debt. Under the baseline scenario, total state revenue would amount to $49.4bn over the lifetimes of various projects.

In 2017 Exxon bought half of Eni’s stake in Area 4, which will supply the planned onshore Rovuma liquefied natural gas plant and a $7bn Coral South floating liquefaction project.