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Mozambique to Offer New Blocks in Q1 2013-Ministry

Source: Reuters 10/16/2012, Location: Africa

Mozambique will offer around 12 new exploration blocks for oil and gas early next year, government officials from the southeast African country told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy conference. The blocks are likely to be offered in the first quarter of 2013, Abdul Razak Noormahomed, deputy minister of mineral resources, told Reuters at the Petrotech energy conference in India.

About 12 blocks will be offered, with at least three of them in the gas-rich Rovuma basin where Anadarko and Eni have made their giant discoveries, said Inocencia Maculuve, a geologist at the National Petroleum Institute (INP). Mozambique's gas sector has attracted global interest after groups led by U.S.-listed Anadarko Petroleum and Italy's Eni have made discoveries of at least 130 trillion cubic feet of gas so far, enough to supply Germany, Britain, France and Italy for 13 years.

INP is the regulatory authority for petroleum exploration and production in Mozambique, managing all licensing rounds and awarding of blocks. Explorers in Mozambique hope to use the gas to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, which cool gas into a liquid form for shipment on tankers, and supply a rising demand for the product, especially from Asia.

Mozambique, a net importer of fuel, hopes to use some gas to build gas-to-liquids plants and also as a cheap source of electricity. Four-fifths of its 23 million people still have no access to power. When evaluating future bids, Mozambique has said it was looking for companies not only with the necessary technical and financial skills and those interested in LNG, but players who would also help develop domestic gas-based industries.

A number of companies, including Eni, Exxon Mobil, BP, Malaysia's Petronas, Shell, Tullow Oil, Vitol and Noble Energy, have expressed an interest in future bidding rounds, INP has said in the past.

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