The green light has been given to develop one of two major natural gas export projects in Mozambique, which already has sales and purchase agreements (SPA) for 100% of the capacity for trains 1 and 2.

The Rovuma liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, designed to produce more than 15 million metric tons/year (mmty), is underway by joint venture Mozambique Rovuma Venture SpA (MRV) to produce, liquefy and market gas from three reservoirs in the Area 4 offshore block. Two reservoirs straddle the boundary with neighboring Area 1.

Proposed design and construction calls for two trains, with each able to produce up to 7.6 mmty.

MRV is led by ExxonMobil Corp. and Eni SpA. China National Petroleum Corp. holds a 70% stake in the related Area 4 exploration and production concession contract, with Portugal’s Galp Group, Korea Gas Corp. and Mozambique’s Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos EP each holding a 10% interest.

“The development plan approval marks another significant step toward a final investment decision later this year,” said ExxonMobil’s Liam Mallon, president of the Upstream Oil & Gas Co. “We will continue to work with the government to maximize the long-term benefits this project will bring to the people of Mozambique.”

Eni and ExxonMobil in 2017 sanctioned the Coral South floating LNG project in Mozambique’s Area 4 with capacity of up to 3.4 mmty.

Sponsors are working to build a local workforce through recruitment and skills development.

“This is the third development plan approved in this five-year period to enable the sustainable development of the huge natural gas reserves discovered in the Rovuma Basin and represents the government’s commitment to ensure the implementation of projects that will drive the development of Mozambique,” said Mozambique’s Ernesto Elias Max Tonela, minister of mineral resources and energy.

“We want Mozambican entrepreneurs and Mozambicans to be the main beneficiaries of the various business opportunities made available by the multinationals because we believe that these companies should grow with the national businesses and with Mozambique.”

SPAs for 100% of the LNG capacity for trains 1 and 2 have been submitted to the government for approval, which together would produce more than 15 mmty.

“The expected production from the Area 4 block will generate substantial benefits for Mozambique and the Area 4 partners,” said Eni’s Alessandro Puliti, chief development, operations and technology officer. “The development plan details our commitment to train, build and employ a local workforce and make gas available in support of Mozambique’s industrialization.”

The Rovuma partners have developed a series of plans to support community development in line with the government’s priorities. During the production phase, the project expects to provide up to 17,000 tons/year of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Mozambique from Area 4 resources, which is currently about 50% of the country’s LPG imports.

The Area 4 partners also plan to distribute up to 5,000 LPG burners and cooking stoves in the Afungi area to replace burning of wood.

ExxonMobil would lead construction and operation of gas liquefaction and related facilities on behalf of MRV, and Eni is to lead construction and operation of upstream facilities.

A second LNG export project underway in Area 1 in Mozambique’s near-shore is now led by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. The project could be sanctioned before the end of summer. Together, Rovuma and the Anadarko project could elevate Mozambique to No. 4 among global LNG exporters.