Maputo — The South African petro-chemical giant, Sasol, is preparing to begin prospecting for natural gas in exploration block M10, 130 kilometres off the coast of Beira in the central province of Sofala.
The daily newspaper "Noticias" reports that drilling will begin in July and has a one in four chance of striking gas. This first exploration well will take 45 days to drill.
According to Sasol's Peter Dekker, if gas is found Sasol will work with the National Petroleum Institute (INP) to open the first commercial well within six months.
Dekker, who was taking part in a public consultation over the M10 offshore block, told "Noticias" that his company will then move on to drill a second exploration well.
Intense work is currently underway both on land and at sea to install the drilling platform that has arrived with its staff from Nigeria.
Mozambique's navy will be carrying out operations to protect the platform and its support vessels from any potential attack from Somali pirates.
The development of the block follows the acceptance by the Environment Ministry of an environmental impact assessment and guarantees that anyone affected by any subsequent pollution will be compensated.
Offices have been opened in the city of Beira in Sofala province and in the town of Govuro in Inhambane province to receive any complaints about pollution, and to pay prompt compensation.