Southern Africa’s most enticing frontier in global gas sector

SA oil & gas discoveries

SA oil & gas discoveries

from ARIMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) EXCITING times, economically, are prevailing in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as Mozambique rolls out liquefied natural gas (LNG) mega-projects and South Africa, buoyed by recent discoveries of the lucrative commodity, partners the neighbouring country to kickstart its own LNG industry.

The LNG sector is also providing a platform for the two countries to deepen trade ties, which have been growing steadily and now stand at R52,4 billion (US$3,5 billion) having grown from R43,9 billion in 2013.

Mozambique, where an estimated 20 billion barrels of natural gas were discovered offshore in 2012, is basking in the glory of the largest investment in gas that the African continent has seen- $20 billion.

Anadarko Petroleum, the US firm is behind the investment in the Rovuma basin off the country’s northern coast.

Mozambique is forecast to become a global gas supplier, a development anticipated to address poverty rampant in the Southern African country.

In February, one of the most important discoveries of the year took place 175km off the southern coast of South Africa where Total made a gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda prospects, located on the south coast.

This week, a group of South African businesspeople, representing 35 companies, jetted off to Mozambique in search of investment and trade opportunities, with a priority on designated industrial and infrastructure projects as envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Economic Cooperation between the two countries.

These include the LNG projects in the northern Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique.

The South African delegation toured Mozambique under the aegis of the Outward Trade and Investment Mission to Pemba and Maputo organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Mandisi Mpahlwa, High Commissioner of South Africa to Mozambique, described the opportunities that would be created by the first investment of about $20 billion that was announced recently as massively unimaginable.

“You cannot start to imagine what the investments in the gas projects are going to do to the economy of this country (Mozambique,” the envoy said.

Mpahlwa urged South African businesspeople to position themselves to benefit from the secondary level of the gas projects.

“You (entrepreneurs) need to take a 360-degree view of the wide spectrum of these opportunities and identify Mozambican companies and businesspeople that you can establish partnerships and joint ventures with,” he added.

Jardus Smith, one of the business executives that embarked on the business trip facilitated by DTI, said as Mozambique rolled out one of the biggest LNG projects in Africa, it was incumbent upon companies in the continent to ensure that the bulk of the content of that project was African.

“The implementation of the LNG project will create a lot of other projects that will provide unlimited opportunities for companies like ours to take advantage of,” Smith said.

Smith is the Export Manager of Clotan Building Systems.

“It is important for us to position ourselves as one of the companies that have the capacity to provide expertise and products when required,” Smith said.

Antonio Mapure, Permanent Secretary of the Cabo Delgado Province, said, “The gas projects will open up opportunities for private sector investments and partnerships in various sectors of our economy such as agriculture, agro-processing, fisheries and tourism.”

– CAJ News

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