- The managing director of Exxon Mobil in Mozambique, Jos Evens, has said that it would be speculation to give a date for a final investment decision from the consortium with the licence to exploit Area 4 in the Mamba reserves of natural gas in the Rovuma basin, in the north of the country.
“The future looks bright and reliable, but to set a date is speculation,” Evens said in a session of the Mozambique Gas Summit, held on Wednesday and Thursday online. “It depends on how the market develops in the coming months and years and that will be an important factor for shareholders to come together and assess the feasibility of the project.”
Evens was answering a direct question about whether the investment decision would be taken in 2021, after Exxon postponed it this year, shortly after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy emerged.
Evens had already in earlier comments as part of the gas summit detailed the need to review the new global situation.
“Due to market changes, we need to continue to work with government and partners to optimise plans and explore opportunities linked to the global cost environment,” he said. “We need to ensure the necessary cost competitiveness of the project.
“Next year, Area 4 partners will review the progress and feasibility of the project,” he promised.
Mozambique has approved three projects for natural gas exploration off the coast of Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country.
Of the three, two are larger projects that are to channel fuel from the seabed to land, before exporting it once liquefied: one led by Total of France (in the Area 1 consortium) and is expected to start in 2024, the other led by Exxon Mobil and Eni of Italy (in the Area 4 consortium).
A third, more advanced and smaller project, also belonging to the Area 4 consortium, consists of a floating platform that is to capture and process the gas for export at sea. It is scheduled to start operations in 2022, with an ultimate production of 3.4 million tonnes per year (mtpa) of liquefied natural gas.
The Area 1 project is to handle 13.12 mtpa and the onshore plan for Area 4 around 15 mtpa.
The former is currently the largest private investment underway in Africa, valued at between €20 billion and €25 billion; the latter – on which the Exxon Mobil and Eni investment decision is pending – is of a similar size.
Meanwhile, Mozambique faces a humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado province, where a three-year armed insurgency has already claimed between 1,000 and 2,000 lives and displaced 300,000 people.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal