News / Africa

Massive Gas Fields Discovered Off Mozambique

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Delia Robertson

International energy companies say they have discovered potentially massive natural gas fields off the coast of Mozambique.

The Italian energy firm ENI last month announced two major finds in the Mamba South gas fields off Mozambique's northeastern coast.  The company said the field, located 45 kilometers off Cabo Delgado province, could yield more than 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The announcement follows that of the American oil company Anadarko, which said its gas fields in the same area could yield up to 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  And, Britain's Cove Energy PLC estimates it exploration field in the same area could eventually yield 40 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Gas flows are expected to come on line between 2014 and 2016.

"It is big," noted Tony Twine is director and senior economist at Econometrix, South Africa's largest independent macro-economic consultant firm. "It would provide about $150 billion at 2010 gas prices, it really is a significant find.  Incidentally, $150 billion is equivalent to ten full years of Mozambique gross domestic product.  So relative to their other sources of income, this is massive."

Twine says the fields are huge by any standards and promise an enormous financial windfall for the country.

Mozambique is one of the world's poorest countries, having emerged from a 15-year civil war in 1992 with its infrastructure devastated and its economy shattered.  The country has made many gains since then and continues to be one of the continent's fastest growing economies.  Even so, economists note this growth comes off a very small base, and that most Mozambicans still live on less than $1.25 a day.

Arsenio Mabote, the chief executive officer of Mozambique's National Petroleum Institute (INP) says the financial benefits from the gas must be used to develop the country's economy and its citizens.

"As I told you employment is very important to us, improvement of different infrastructure is very important for us, build up capacity," Mabote said. "Training of Mozambican employees is part of the package that we would like to see so that by exploiting natural resources like natural gas, will benefit the country."

And, Mabote sees benefits too for Cabo Delgado province where there have been almost no infrastructure improvements since the end of the civil war, two decades ago.

"It will enable us also to improve our basic infrastructure," Mabote added.  "As a matter of fact, if you look at Pemba where the gas discoveries are being made, you have no adequate infrastructure there, by implementing these kind of projects will definitely increase the infrastructure situation, improve the infrastructure situation."

Mobote says the country will also be looking to added-value projects to ensure even greater income and build capacity in Mozambique.

"Implementation of projects that add value to the gas in Mozambique - such as liquefied natural gas, ammonia projects, fertilizers, methanol projects, power generation projects - those projects will have a lot of importance because they will possible build up capacity in the country, train a lot of technicians as well and high-level technical people to work for those projects," Mobote  explained.

Economist Twine says that these are the dream projects that promise unbelievably high macro-economic gains.  But he says, even without the dream projects, Mozambique stands to gain well beyond the simple cash flow generate by exploiting the gas fields from royalties, mining rights, taxes on profits and personal incomes generated both upstream and downstream from the actual gas extraction.

"So the eventual Mozambican fiscal take, at a rough guess would probably be around about 30 percent of the total value added, which I guess would be in the region of $100 billion for the life of the project," Twine noted.  "So about $35 billion, which is 3 1/2 years' worth of Mozambican GDP, just popping up as direct revenue to the Mozambican government."

Twine says the benefits of such large gas fields will also flow to other countries in the region, such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and especially for South Africa, Mozambique's largest trading partner.

"And a rule of thumb applied by economists in South Africa is that for every dollar that is spent on Mozambique, wherever the dollar comes from, it doesn't matter for every dollar, 60 cents of that dollar in turn is spent on goods and services emanating from South Africa.  So even for its large economy neighbor South Africa, it would be very, very big," Twine added.

Large energy projects around the globe are often accompanied by corruption, where the cash flows often do not reach the national treasury.  Twine notes that in Angola, between 80 and 90 percent of oil revenues go missing.  But he says that in existing onshore gas projects in Mozambique the picture is very different and that revenues appear to go where they should.  He says this is encouraging for the potentially massive revenue windfall anticipated in Mozambique.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid