The discovery of gas reserves in 2010, estimated at 180 trillion cubic feet (five trillion cubic metres) in the surrounding Rovuma Basin, was the biggest natural gas find in recent decades.
Experts have predicted that Mozambique could become the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) — and an African version of wealthy Qatar.
Since the discovery of the gas, the face of the town has started to change. Excavators and construction vehicles are working on the planned liquefaction plant and export facilities.
A gated residential complex for the anticipated influx of skilled workers is almost ready, and the town’s first shopping mall is being built.
But the much-touted gas project has run into strong headwinds.
Initial estimates were that the first LNG would come on stream in 2016 but now it is expected in 2023 — or later. The plunge in global gas prices has led energy companies to slow down capital expenditure.
Meanwhile the government in Maputo is caught up in a debt scandal that has triggered an economic crisis unseen since the end of the southern African country’s civil war in 1992.
In March Exxon announced that it was buying for $28 billion, a 25 percent stake in Italian energy giant ENI’s Mozambique gas resource.
That same month another major player, US oil and natural gas company Anadarko, also said it was investing $770 million in its deepwater project in Mozambique where it “expects to continue advancing” and that it has “made good progress on the legal and contractual framework.”
But Nhamire said it will take a “long time” for any benefits from the gas project to reach average Mozambicans.
Now, it remains to be seen if Mozambique is another African victim of the “resource curse”.
News source: energy.economictimes.