Mozambique: Coral South Flng Project On Schedule

Maputo — Mozambique's National Petroleum Institute (INP), the regulatory body for oil and gas operations, is confident that the construction and installation of the Coral South floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) unit is going ahead in accordance with the agreed calendar, with no significant delays.

Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, INP chairperson Carlos Zacarias, said that the construction of the FLNG unit in South Korean shipyards is already 73 per cent complete.

Last month, the power generation unit was lifted on board the hull of the FLNG unit. This marked the start of the integration between the hull, launched in January, and the massive topside (12 process modules of around 70,000 tons), both currently under construction in Korea.

The work in South Korea, and in other parts of the supply chain scattered across the globe, will be completed in2021, said Zacarias, and once all the modules have been fixed to the hull, the entire unit can be towed across the Indian Ocean to Mozambique.

"The Coral South platform should be transported to Mozambican waters so that, in 2022, the production of natural gas and its liquefaction may begin", he added. In principle, there will be no delay in supplying LNG to the importing markets.

The Coral FLNG consortium is led by the Italian energy company ENI, which is the operator of Rovuma Basin Area Four, with a participation of 25 per cent. ENI's partners in Area Four are ExxonMobil of the United States (25 per cent), the China National Petroleum Corporation (20 per cent), Kogas of South Korea (10 per cent), Galp of Portugal (10 per cent), and Mozambique's own National Hydrocarbon Company, ENH (10 per cent).

But a much larger LNG project, also based on gas fields in Area Four, really has been delayed. Zacarias confirmed that the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the project, led by ExxonMobil, and envisaging onshore LNG plants, has been postponed from this year into 2021.

"Due to a combination of factors, including the fall in the world market price of oil, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Final Investment Decision has been delayed", he said, although he had no doubt that the decision will eventually be taken.

The third Rovuma Basin LNG project is based on gas finds in Area One, nearer to the coast, and the operator is the French oil and gas company Total.

This project ran into problems because the Total work camp, on the Afungi Peninsula, in the Cabo Delgado district of Palma, was the scene of a major Covid-19 outbreak. The largest single cluster of Covid-19 cases in Mozambique yet diagnosed was at Afungi.

"We believe the situation is under control", said Zacarias, "and so we have redesigned the start of some activities. The camp has been decontaminated, and the infected people have complied with all the guidelines for necessary isolation that they had to follow".

He believed that some activities in the camp will shortly be relaunched: although the companies providing services to the camp, as well as everybody working there must observe the necessary health, safety and environment procedures.

Le/pf (527)


Maputo, 4 Jun (AIM) - Out of a total number of 16,000 prisoners in Mozambique, about 6,000 are remand prisoners whose period of preventive detention has expired, Justice Minister Helena Kida revealed on Wednesday.

In a lengthy interview broadcast on the publicly-owned channel, Mozambique Television (TVM), Kida added that many of those who are serving sentences qualify for conditional release. Yet they remain in the country's overcrowded jails.

Mozambique's prisons can hold a maximum of 8,000 inmates. But currently they house around 16,000 prisoners. The situation used to be considerably worse - recently there were around 21,000 prisoners, but the number was cut, thanks to the presidential pardon in April for prisoners serving short sentences.

Nonetheless, the prisons remain grossly overcrowded, and this overcrowding is a serious threat to the inmates' health and lives, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also very expensive, Caring for 16,000 prisoners costs the Mozambican state about 11.2 million meticais (around 162,000 US dollars) a day.

Kida assured her interviewers that work is being done to reduce the number of prisoners in the jails. But it was not solely her Ministry's responsibility. She wanted to see "what the magistrates can do to deal with these matters with some speed".

"Nowadays, with Covid-19, the fewer people we have in our prisons, the better", she said. Ending the overcrowding would "reduce the risk of people becoming contaminated, in the event of an outbreak of the disease in our jails".

Kida also revealed that the government is studying the possibility of partnerships between the Justice Ministry and private companies for the use of prisoners as labour. The employers would have to ensure that the prisoners are taught skills, so that they do not resume a life of crime when they leave the prison system.

Kida believed that prison labour could also be used on public building works, such as roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

Within the prisons, she said, the inmates should be endowed with skills that would ensure their reinsertion into society. Those skills could enable them, on leaving prison, to become, for example, successful farmers, carpenters or metalworkers.

Kida noted that former prisoners often re-offend, and find themselves back in jail, because they did not know how to meet their basic needs - and this problem could have been solved, if they had learned some skill that could provide them with an income.

"This is our challenge", she said. "We have to ensure that there are fewer prisoners, and that someone who was once a prisoner does not, when he is released, return to our prisons".

Kida said her Ministry also wants to set up a prison hospital in Maputo, which would cater for all prison inmates who need medical assistance.

There is currently no such institution. When a prisoner fall ill, he is taken to the nearest unit of the national health system.

Kida said moving prisoners to public hospitals also meant moving prison guards, to avoid escapes. Guards had to be put on doors of hospital wards.

"We are undertaking a viability study, because we are going to take an existing prison and turn it into a hospital", she said. "After that transformation, we would have to transfer the prisoners who are not sick to another establishment".

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