Mozambique Doesn’t Plan to Sell Stake in Rovuma Gas Block

Mozambique’s state-backed petroleum company said it’s not interested in selling its stake in the Rovuma offshore gas field to international producers.

“Is not in our minds to sell,” Chief Executive Officer Nelson Ocuane said yesterday in an interview in the capital city of Maputo. “Our mandate is to add value to the natural resource discoveries in the country.”

Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos, known as ENH, has a 15 percent interest in the Rovuma-1 block, whose reserves are larger than those of Libya, according to Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the operator of the block.

The CEO said several international companies that have expressed an interest in gaining a foothold in the block have been rebuffed.

“We can only materialize our vision with our participation in all of the process, including the development of the project and the investment phase,” Ocuane said. “Our vision is to make ENH profitable in the next few years and, if possible, to increase our stakes.”

India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Oil India Ltd. are among companies weighing bids for a stake in Rovuma owned by ENH, a person familiar with the matter said last week. ENH was also reported to be gauging interest from Chinese energy firms, two people said at the time.

ENH will need to invest close to $1 billion for the development of the field in the next few years, equivalent to 20 percent to 30 percent of the project, according to Ocuane.

Final Estimates

“We are still talking about preliminary figures, which can vary according to how many plants will be built,” the CEO said. The final estimates will be ready next year, he said.

Talks will take place with commercial banks and development agencies to provide some of the financing, he said.

“The strategy is already approved,” Ocuane said. “We had a good experience on Sasol’s Pande Temane project where we had important support from international financial institutions and we are comfortable in saying money for investment will not be a problem.”

The company is also hiring an international consultant with experience in liquefied natural gas to help the state fund its share of the investment.

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