Mozambique’s upstream regulator, the National Petroleum Institute (INP), has announced the pre-qualifying results for the country’s 6th Licensing Round for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production Areas, with 12 international companies having been selected to bid in the round. The southern-African country’s next licensing round will offer 16 offshore blocks once it opens in late-August this year, after which, the results will be published on November 30, 2022.
Of the 12 companies that have pre-qualified, six will serve as operators, while the remining six will serve as non-operators, for the prospecting and exploration of hydrocarbons in the country’s offshore areas.
The acreage offered in the round has attracted applications from China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation – which has a key stake in the Rovuma and Coral Basins –, along with Sinopec and PetroChina International, as well as oil and gas supermajors Eni, TotalEnergies, and ExxonMobil, all of which have been pre-qualified as operators.
Pre-qualified non-operators will include Singapore’s RN Angoche PTE; Russian independent natural gas producer, Novatek; QatarEnergy, which holds stakes in the Angoche and Zambezi Basins; South Africa’s Sasol, a legacy oil and gas investor in Mozambique that has stakes in the Temane, Pande, and Inhassoro projects; India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Videsh; and London-registered, Discover Exploration, a newcomer to Mozambique.
The sixth tender for the concession of offshore blocks for oil and gas exploration was launched in November 2021, and the companies will have until August 31, 2022 to submit their bids, which will allow the right to prospect for oil and gas for eight years, giving the companies exclusive rights to develop and operate exploration and production infrastructure. In the event of discovery, relevant companies will have production rights for a maximum of 30 years.
The tender covers 16 deepwater offshore blocks, with five being situated in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the Cabo Delgado Province, seven in the Angoche Basin, off the coast of the Nampula Province, two in the Zambezi Delta, and the remaining two located near the mouth of the Save River in the south of Mozambique. Together, the acreage covers a total area of 92,000km.
The subsequent stage of the licensing round will comprise the acquisition of geoscientific data for the substantiation and evaluation of the region’s petroleum potential as well as the submission of corresponding proposals by the pre-qualified companies.
With the presence of several multinational oil companies already operating in Mozambique, the agreement reflects the country’s commitment to pursuing investments in natural gas, which the government argues will be a crucial source of energy for the country to achieve its sustainable development goals and adhere to the global energy transition.