Mozambique Licensing Round Attracts Strong Interest

According to Mozambique's hydrocarbons regulator the Instituto Nacional de Petróleo (INP), the African nation's fourth oil licensing round closed on June 15. INP confirmed that as many as seven bids were made for the onshore blocks.

While there were indeed a couple of big names among the bidding parties, it seems the industry majors chose to stay away. This appears to be indicative of the scepticism towards Mozambique's onshore potential, and their clear favouring of the nation's offshore blocks.
The fourth onshore licensing round, which was launched back in September 2009, covered seven onshore blocks. In the north of the country, the Maniamba block, located along Lake Malawi, received a bid from only Aguia Energy. While the Médio Zambeze and Baxio Zambeze blocks, in the centre of Mozambique, received bids from Aguia and Norway's DNO International. Finally, in the southern part of the country, the Banhine, Mazenga, Limpopo and Palmeira blocks received bids from Canada's Touchstone Oil and Gas, South Africa's Sasol Petroleum International, CH-SwissOil Holdings International and NewAge (African Global Energy). The end results of the bidding round are scheduled to be announced in September of this year.
The oil industry majors presently operating in Mozambique include Norway's Statoil, US-based independent Anadarko Petroleum, Malaysia's state-run Petronas and Italian giant Eni. All four firms are currently working at offshore blocks in the Rovuma Basin, where Anadarko struck hydrocarbons in February in the first offshore East African discovery.
In addition to this, two firms which placed bids in the fourth licensing round, DNO and Sasol, have ongoing onshore operations in the Inhaminga and Pande/Temane blocks of the Mozambique Basin, while Sasol is also active in offshore blocks 16 and 19.

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