Cape Town, South Africa (Reuters) – Mozambique is poised to launch its fifth oil and gas bidding round next year, mainly offshore, and is waiting for parliament to pass an amended petroleum law, a government official said on Wednesday.
The former Portuguese colony is prominent among east Africa’s new hydrocarbon frontier markets, with giant gas finds off its coast fuelling an exploration boom.
“If it is likely that this year the law is approved, it is likely we will have the bidding round sometime next year,” said Jose Branquinho, resource assessment director at the National Petroleum Institute (INP).
He told Reuters on the sidelines of an African oil and gas conference that INP, Mozambique’s regulatory authority for petroleum activities, was looking at blocks in the deep water Rovuma basin, as well as offshore Zambezi Delta and Beira High regions. The last round was held in 2009.
“We are primarily looking at offshore, but we are considering the possibility of having some few areas onshore to offer as well,” Branquinho said.
The INP would make recommendations but the government would have the final say on when the licensing round took place and how many blocks were offered.
Italy’s Eni, whose giant discovery in Mozambique’s Rovuma basin is the group’s biggest resource with an estimated 80 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, and U.S. company Anadarko Petroleum are among major operators active offshore.
South Africa’s Sasol is operating inland, where the Pande-Temane fields also hold multiple trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.
Branquinho said other areas under consideration after the fifth licensing round included the offshore Zambezi to Rovuma and the South Mozambique basins.