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SA could gain from massive gas find

Economy

South Africa stands to potentially benefit from one of the most significant natural gas finds in the world in the past 10 years off the Mozambique coast.

US oil and gas exploration firm Anadarko Petroleum, the operator of a 1 million hectare offshore area in Mozambican waters, announced on Monday its discovery of two high quality systems, expanding the estimated recoverable resource to as much as 30 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas.

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Filomena Scalise

The New York Stock Exchange-listed company’s chairman and chief executive, Jim Hackett, said the positive results of each appraisal well it had drilled had continued to increase the company’s estimate of recoverable resources.

He said the results “add to our confidence that this could be one of the most important natural gas fields discovered in the last 10 years”.

“This is great news for Mozambique, as our ongoing activities will continue to spur meaningful investment in the region, generate significant revenue for the government and offer a multitude of opportunities for the people of Mozambique,” he said.

Anadarko has a 36.5 percent working interest in the exploration area. Co-owners are Mitsui E&P Mozambique Area 1 with 20 percent, BPRL Ventures Mozambique with 10 percent, Videocon Mozambique Rovuma 1 Limited (10 percent) and Cove Energy Mozambique Rovuma Offshore with 8.5 percent.

Cape Chamber of Commerce president Michael Bagraim said yesterday that a complete rethink of South Africa’s energy and electricity plans was essential in light of the massive new natural gas discoveries.

To put the find in perspective, the UK’s total gas reserves were just 9 tcf, compared with the 15 to 30 tcf discovered off the Mozambique coast, he said.

Bagraim added the discovery followed the announcement last month by Italian company Eni that it had found reserves of 22.5 tcf in the same region.

Sasol spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan confirmed Sasol had a central processing facility and took gas from two fields in Mozambique, but stressed it was not involved in this project.

South Africa has an energy co-operation agreement with the Mozambique government in terms of which it obtains power from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric dam. - Roy Cokayne

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