Eni has bolstered its presence in Mozambique.

Eni S.p.A. has bolstered its presence in Mozambique by acquiring the exclusive exploration and development rights of the offshore block A5-A in the deepwater Northern Zambezi Basin, the Italy-based company announced Wednesday.

Eni won the block in the East African country’s fifth competitive licensing round. The company stated that the block covers a 5,133-kilometer area “in a completely unexplored area” at water depths ranging from 300 to 1,800 meters.

Eni also noted that it will serve as operator of the Block A5-A Consortium, with its Eni Mozambico subsidiary owning a 59.5-percent participating share. Others in the consortium include Sasol (25.5 percent) and Mozambique’s state-owned Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) (15 percent).

Offshore Mozambique, Eni already participates in the Petroleum Contract of Area 4 in the Rovuma basin by owning  a 25-percent stake in the Area 4 consortium member Mozambique Rovuma Ventures. From 2011 to 2014, the consortium discovered the supergiant Coral, Mamba and Agulha gas fields that hold an estimated 2,407 billion cubic meters of gas in place, Eni stated. Other Mozambique Rovuma Members include Exxon Mobil Corp. (25 percent) and China National Petroleum Corp. (20 percent). ENH, Korea Gas Corp. and Galp each own a 10-percent interest in the consortium.

In June 2017, the consortium launched the initial development plan for Coral that includes construction of a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant that will boast a liquefaction capacity of 3.4 million tons per year, Eni noted. The company expects production to begin in 2022.

The Mamba Complex development will feature an onshore, two-train facility to treat the field’s production and liquefy up to 15.2 million tons of gas per year, Eni added. The company pointed out the Mamba program should be sanctioned next year and first gas should occur in 2024.

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