Maputo — Mozambique’s National Petroleum Institute (INP) has postponed the issuing of new licences for hydrocarbon exploration until the second half of this year, according to a report in Friday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, during an interval in a meeting on the Master Plan for Natural Gas, the Chairperson of the INP Board, Arsenio Mabote, said the postponement was because the country’s petroleum legislation is being revised, and a new law will shortly be submitted to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.
“We had to delay the licences until the new law is approved”, he said. “As you can imagine, new operations should be under the jurisdiction of the new law”.
Initially, the tenders for new exploration licenses for areas in the Rovuma and Sofala Basins were to have been held in the first quarter of 2013, and the Ministry of Mineral Resources revealed that several international oil and gas companies had expressed interest.
The interest of multinational companies in new blocks for exploration has been whetted by the huge discoveries of natural gas made in Areas one and four of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado by the American company Anadarko and the Italian ENI.
The discoveries made so far in the Rovuma Basin amount to over 100 trillion cubic feet of gas. Plans are now afoot to build Liquefied Natural Gas installations on the Cabo Delgado coast, although the first production is not expected until at least 2018.