In June 2019, Mozambique LNG (led by US-based Anadarko) committed $20-billion on the development of integrated offshore and onshore gas fields, through LNG, in the Rovuma basin, east of Palma, and in December 2019, Rovuma LNG (led by ExxonMobil and ENI) is expected to commit $30-billion to develop the same.
Each of these projects marked the largest investment of its kind in Africa, only to be overtaken by the next. The chance for Mozambique to grow its $14-billion economy and repay its government debt, now sitting at 100% of GDP, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Standard Bank, which is heavily involved in Mozambique’s gas sector, says the Rovuma LNG project alone has the capacity to boost GDP by between $15-billion and $18-billion per annum and contribute $5-billion annually to the fiscus and create 323,000 employment opportunities – with LNG as a whole potentially facilitating real GDP growth of 8% to 10% over the next 30 years.
While it is not yet clear to what extent South Africa will benefit from a new source of LNG – prices will have to be negotiated on competitive terms – local companies can benefit from the sheer volume of work underway in the northern neighbour.
“SA could export goods and services to Mozambique, investors could form companies in partnership with Mozambique nationals,” he says.
There will also be opportunities for SA human capital working on the LNG projects and other domestic gas investments as employees, contractors, manufacturers, service providers and consultants.
Standard Bank has committed to finance part of the Anadarko project (which has been acquired by French petrochemical giant Total) and also plans to finance part of the ExxonMobil project due to be announced later in 2019.
This could then see South Africa’s Export Credit Insurance Corporation, a dti subsidiary, underwriting part of this investment, Eardley-Taylor says.
“This could secure market access for SA companies of over $500-million. And the same could apply if SA companies are involved in Rovuma LNG.”
At a recent Mozvest conference held in Cape Town, speakers noted the limitations of Mozambique’s infrastructure to handle projects of this nature.