Maputo — Mozambique's National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) intends to start supplying homes in Maputo with piped natural gas in the first half of this year, according to a Tuesday ENH press release.
A primary network for distribution has been in place since 2014, but it was only in 2017 that ENH launched a tender to select suppliers of materials, equipment and services necessary to pipe the gas to homes in the Aeroporto A neighbourhood, the area chosen for the pilot phase of domestic gas distribution.
The initial target is modest: it is for 35 connections to the gas network, with an investment of 17 million meticais (about 274,000 US dollars) from the government in this first phase of a programme for the mass domestic use of gas.
According to ENH commercial director Benjamim Chilenge, the Aeroporto A project is part of the strategy to bring natural gas to an increasing number of consumers. “In Maputo, we have had the network available since 2014, but we don't yet have any residential consumers”, he said. “This project seeks to support the households, by financing the cost of connections. The households will just pay the bills for the gas consumed”.
Chilenge said that a considerable part of the initial investment will be used to develop a remote controlled pre-payment system.
There were two parts to the tender, he explained. One was to select the supplier of equipment, who would also take care of assembly, installation and engineering. The second part was for the supply of the pre-payment gas meters, and the installation and operation of the system to manage the sales.
In 2015, ENH undertook a survey of the Aeroporto A neighbourhood, to find out how many potential consumers of piped natural gas live there. 411 households expressed an interest.
Aeroporto A is on the route of the distribution network implemented by a consortium formed by EH and Kogas of South Korea.
The government awarded the concession for the distribution and sale of natural gas in Maputo, and the neighbouring district of Marracuene, to ENH in 2009. To date the consumers of the gas have been industrial.
The ENH release points out that the company has 20 years of experience in supplying gas to residential consumer in Inhambane province. Here ENH has 1,530 consumers, most of them residential.
The gas for the projects comes from the Pande and Temane fields in Inhambane, which are operated by the South African petro-chemical giant, Sasol.