9:13 CAT | 08 Nov 2017
The Italian energy company ENI, and its partners in the natural gas project in Area Four of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, on Tuesday, at a ceremony in Maputo, formally approved the entry into Area Four of the United states oil and gas giant, ExxonMobil.
In March ExxonMobil purchased half of ENI’s stake in Area Four for 2.8 billion US dollars. The Mozambican government authorised the transaction in September. As a result, ENI and ExxonMobil now each hold a 25 per cent stake in Area Four. The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) holds 20 per cent of the shares, while Galp-Energia of Portugal, Kogas of South Korea, and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), each hold 10 per cent.
Permission was still needed from the existing partners for ExxonMobil to enter Area Four. With that permission now granted, the way is clear for the Mozambican state to collect capital gains tax from ENI on the transaction. The amount of tax to be paid is estimated at 354.4 million dollars.
Speaking at the Tuesday ceremony, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Leticia Klemens, cited in the Wednesday issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, said “an important step has been taken towards implementing the natural gas liquefaction project”.
“With the signing of this complementary agreement”, she said, “ExxonMobil will be able to contribute to the implementation of the projects in Area Four”. Part of the arrangement is that, although ENI remains the operator of Area Four, and is in overall charge of the floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platform to be installed above the Coral South gas field, ExxonMobil will take responsibility for managing and implementing onshore operations. These will include gas liquefaction plants to be built on the Afungi Peninsula in Palma district.
The entry of ExxonMobil as a shareholder in the project, Klemens said, strengthened her belief that Mozambique will become one of the largest exporters of natural gas in the world.
The agreement, she added, “will allow us to use the great technical competence and financial robustness of ExxonMobil, which is a world leader in petroleum operations, with great mastery of the natural gas market”.