Mozambique: Anadarko Sale Will Not Alter Gas Calendar

Maputo — The sale of Anadarko Petroleum to the giant US hydrocarbon company Chevron will not alter the calendar for the projects to exploit liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Rovuma Basin, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, according to the chairperson of the Mozambican National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), Omar Mitha, cited in Tuesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais".

The engineering of the projects and agreements would also remain intact, said Mitha. "Everything is guaranteed", he insisted, and there could be no going back.

What was changing, and for the better, he added, was the perception of business risk. Mitha described Chevron as a financially robust partner with experience of developing LNG projects in Australia and elsewhere.

Chevron is purchasing Anadarko for 33 billion US dollars. This means that Chevron will take over Anadarko's position at the head of the consortium operating Area One of the Rovuma Basin. Anadarko has 26.5 per cent of the shares in Area One. Its partners are Mitsui of Japan (20 per cent), ENH (15 per cent), PTTEP of Thailand (8.5 per cent), and three Indian companies, ONGC, Oil India and Bharat Petro Resources (10 per cent each).

So far about 75 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas have been discovered in Area One, and the Anadarko-headed consortium plans to build two LNG factories (known as "trains") on the Afungi Peninsula in Palma district.

Anadarko, however, has not yet taken the Final Investment Decision on this project, which was expected in the first half of this year.

Chevron is the second major US oil and gas company to invest in the Rovuma Basin. ExxonMobil has already purchased a stake in Area Four of the basin, where the operator is the Italian energy company ENI.

Mitha believed that these investments send a signal of confidence in Mozambique, which could attract international banks to finance LNG projects.

The sale of Anadarko to Chevron could also generate capital gains tax for the Mozambican exchequer. Calculating the amount may prove difficult since Chevron is not simply buying Anadarko's Mozambican assets, but the entire company.

"We have to see what is the historic cost recorded and the difference between the market value and the historic cost", said Mitha.

This task would be undertaken by the Mozambique Tax Authority (AT), the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, and the National Petroleum Institute. Mitha was optimistic that significant sums in capital gains tax could be collected.

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