Maputo — Mozambique's publicly owned National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) has launched a public tender for the construction of a gas refinery.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, after signing cooperation agreements with the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the ENH chairperson, Omar Mitha, said the tender was launched in April.
Mitha gave no dates, and said that the economic viability of such a refinery is still under study. Nonetheless, he seemed convinced that it would go ahead.
An obvious problem is that the natural gas from the huge reserves in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, will not come ashore before 2022. That did not worry Mitha: he said that, if the refinery is ready before the Rovuma Basin has is piped to land, Mozambique could import gas to be refined, and then sell it to neighbouring countries.
As for the agreements with CNPC, Mitha said they set up a joint Mozambique-China petroleum and gas cooperation committee, which will meet alternately in Maputo and Beijing.
For his part, the CNPC Deputy Chairperson, Hou Qijua, said that Mozambique is a country with enormous development potential, and has the foundations for growth in the area of the petroleum industry.
ENH and CNPC are already partners in Rovuma Basin Area Four, where CNPC acquired an indirect participation via the Italian energy company ENI-East Africa.
ENI-East Africa holds 70 per cent of the Area Four concession. 35.7 per cent of ENI-East Africa is owned by ENI, 35.7 per cent by the American oil and gas giant ExxonMobil and 28.6 per cent by CNPC.
The remaining 30 per cent of Area Four is held by ENH, Kogas of South Korea and Galp Energia of Portugal, each with a ten per cent stake.