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Mozambique is increasingly stepping up its efforts in the production of liquefied natural gas and therefore becoming one of the suitable reliable suppliers of Europe. While it may not replace Russia cutting gas exports as a reciprocal action against members of the European Union, Mozambique is ultimately seeking revenue from its natural resources.

Mozambique’s National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH) has recognized the chances of helping meet growing gas needs in Europe, due to uncertainty over Russian supplies following the invasion of the former Soviet republic of ‘Ukraine.

“With the war situation in Ukraine, the European market has increased the demand for gas. One of the ways to speed up the arrival of our gas on the markets is to use a second floating platform similar to the one that is already here in Mozambique”, said the executive commercial director of ENH, Pascoal Mocumbi Júnior , quoted by the Mozambique News Agency (AIM). .

Mocumbi Júnior explained that a second floating platform for the production of liquefied natural gas would join an identical infrastructure that already exists in Mozambican waters, if the country were to be part of the solution to the energy deficit caused by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

The construction time for a possible second floating unit would be three years, two years less than the construction time for the unit which has already started loading hydrocarbons, in order to save time and speed up production gas.

“With the amount of gas that exists in Mozambique, automatically positions itself as an alternative to meet the need that currently exists and the faster the country can bring its gas to market, the greater the possibility of taking advantage of the current crisis caused by the Russian conflict. -Ukrainian,” he pointed out.

At the end of July, the outgoing ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Mozambique argued that natural gas from Cabo Delgado was among the alternatives of the European plan to diversify energy sources in the face of the constraints caused by the Russian invasion. from Ukraine.

“Mozambican gas, with the presence of large European multinationals, now has an even greater and more strategic value,” Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar said in an interview with Lusa, the Mozambican news agency, in Maputo.

According to the diplomat, with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Europe has come to the conclusion that “it cannot trust its former partner [Russia, among the world’s biggest gas exporters]who is authoritarian and uses gas as an instrument of war”, and strives to find alternative sources.

“We have adopted a new strategy in Europe, called RePower EU, which has several elements […] Regarding gas, considered as a transition energy, we are looking for alternative suppliers […] Mozambique is one of the alternatives,” stressed Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar. The Spanish diplomat (representing the EU) ended his mission in Mozambique in July and was replaced by Italian Ambassador Antonino Maggiore.

According to Noticias, an information portal, the government is creating the necessary conditions for the resumption of the LNG project in Mozambique led by TotalEnergies, a verification team is already working in Cabo Delgado.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Carlos Zacarias said the government wanted to see operations resume as soon as possible. “The security situation in the area where the TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil projects will be implemented has, in our opinion, greatly improved. Naturally, before resuming activities, there will be a lot of control by the companies making the investments,” Minister Zacarias said.

Carlos Zacarias said that while the government considered the conditions for resuming the project to be improving, it was up to the company to verify whether, from its point of view, the environment for resuming activities was in place. The restoration of security in the Palma district has allowed the return of some of the inhabitants and the resumption of certain economic activities.

According to Minister Zacarias, in the same way that the population was gradually returning following the improvement of security conditions, economic enterprises could also do so. That it was not only the TotaEnergies project that had been suspended, but also many others such as the roads under construction in various places.

Last April, the multinational Total announced the withdrawal of all personnel from its LNG project in Afungi. The offshore Mozambique LNG project, valued at around $20 billion, aims to extract around 13.12 million tonnes of recoverable gas over 25 years and generate profits of $60.8 billion, half of which will go to the Mozambican state.

Total E&P Mozambique Area 1 Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Total SE, operates the Mozambique LNG project, with a 26.5% stake, with ENH Rovuma Area 1, SA (15%), Mitsui E&P Mozambique Area 1 Limited (20 %), ONGC Videsh Rovuma Limited (10%), Beas Rovuma Energy Mozambique Limited (10%), BPRL Ventures Mozambique BV (10%) and PTTEP Mozambique Area 1 Limited (8.5%).

In order to achieve the task of exporting to Europe, the National Institute of Petroleum (INP) of Mozambique intends to maximize the use of Mozambican labor in gas extraction projects in Mozambique, generating 14 000 possible jobs in the four major projects underway.

INP’s local content director, Natália Camba, clearly highlighted the latest projects, including Mozambique LNG and Rovuma LNG, both of which are onshore gas liquefaction projects in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, the platform LNG Floating Coral Sul, anchored some 40 kilometers off the coast of Cabo Delgado, and the Inhassoro-Temane project in the southern province of Inhambane.

The Mozambique LNG project concerns gas liquefaction plants on the Afungi peninsula, in the district of Palma. But it is currently interrupted and there is no firm date for the resumption of activities, due to attacks by Islamist terrorists. But once the security problems have been solved, the project should create 5,000 jobs for Mozambicans in the construction phase and 1,200 in the operating phase, with a training plan for 2,500 technicians.

In the case of the projects already underway, namely Coral Sul FLNG and Inhassoro-Temane, they have jointly made available 3,820 jobs in the construction phase alone, with a forecast of around 486 permanent jobs in the production phase, including foreign labor which will be reduced in subsequent phases.

“These projects also have a great capacity to create indirect jobs, with the foreign workforce decreasing throughout the project and the Mozambican workforce increasing. Most of these jobs are expected to be provided by contractors and sub-contractors,” she said, and 88% of those recruited are expected to work in construction.

With its strategy to meet the demand for skilled labor for extractive industry projects in the country, according to the director, the INP intends to develop a framework of skilled human resources to meet market demands, as well only to combat the gap between the investments made in the industry and its capacity to generate jobs.

Within the framework of Local Content, the actions of the INP with companies operating gas projects provide for the qualification, training and certification of approximately 200 Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises operating according to the standards required at the international level.

The armed insurrection that began in 2017 in the province of Cabo Delgado, the entry of foreign troops to support Mozambican forces in the middle of last year improved the security situation, recovering important positions such as the village of Mocímboa da Praia. Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops has been set, with the support of the Rwandans and later by the Joint Standby Force composed of the forces of members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The province of Cabo Delgado, located in northern Mozambique, is rich in natural gas. Although the gas from the three projects approved so far has a destination, Mozambique has proven reserves of more than 180 trillion cubic feet, according to data from the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy. With a population of around 30 million, Mozambique is endowed with natural resources. It is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union.