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'Mozambique can meet India's LNG needs'

By Biswajit Choudhury, New Delhi, Jan 25 : Mozambique, where hydrocarbon discoveries are drawing droves of foreign investors, is ready to satisfy India's natural gas needs, according to a minister from the southeast African nation.


"If the Indian government, or anybody, wants to buy LNG (liquefied natural gas) from Mozambique, we are ready to meed the demand," Mozambican Minister of Mineral Resources Esperanca Bias, here for the recent Petrotech 2014 international oil and gas conference organised by the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), told IANS in an interview.

Mozambique plans to produce 34 million tonnes of LNG from its biggest gas field - the Rovuma Area 1 offshore block - where state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd, Oil India and Bharat Petroleum Corp have recently bought 30 percent stake in Mozambique, and will also participate in the LNG project.

"I think the natural gas project will boost our relationship furthur. The Rovuma basin is expected to start production from 2018 and we will make sure that India will start getting LNG by 2019," Bias said.

India currently has 18,000 MW of power capacity lying idle due to gas shortage, with another 10,000 MW in the pipeline awaiting commissioning.

The petroleum ministry has indicated to the Mozambican delegation an initial assessment of requiring 15-20 million tonnes of LNG. Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily is to visit Mozambique next month to finalise the agreement for developing the project and the attached LNG terminals. Ten LNG terminals are likely to be set up, each with a yearly capacity of five million tonnes of gas.

US-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp is the Rovuma 1 project operator. Other partners include Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos EP of Mozambique, Mitsui of Japan and PTT Exploration and Production of Thailand.

"I believe that through this PPP (public-private partnership) project our relationship will get a good boost," Bias said.

She underlined the cooperative nature of the relationship, pointing out how India will train Mozambican personnel in the sector.

"The Indian petroleum ministry will offer Mozambique more than a hundred scholarships for training people in our hydrocarbons sector because we are quite new in the field," Bias said.

Bias said that both countries had an excellent relationship going. "We have a very good relationship between Mozambique and India. We are taking advantage (of India's expertise) because we are neighbours separated by the Indian Ocean.

"We have many Indian companies in Mozambique, while here in India there are many Mozambican students studying," Bias stated.

(Biswajit Choudhury can be contacted at biswajit.c@ians.in)

--IANS (Posted on 25-01-2014)

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