SA could benefit from huge Moz gas find

30 November 2011

Italian and US companies have announced the discovery of massive natural gas fields off Mozambique in the last month, promising huge long-term benefits for Mozambique, and potentially significant spin-off benefits for neighbouring South Africa.

US-based Anadarko Petroleum said on Monday that natural gas reserves in its Mozambican fields could be three times larger than earlier estimated, at up to 30-trillion cubic feet.

The latest drilling activities revealed new finds “significantly expanding the estimated recoverable resource range to 15- to 30-plus trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

The discovery is one of the most important natural gas fields discovered in the last 10 years, with long-term benefits for Mozambique, Anadarko chief executive Jim Hackett said.

South Africa stands to benefit from the discovery, Business Report said in an article on Tuesday, with Cape Chamber of Commerce president Michael Bagraim telling the paper that a complete rethink of South Africa’s energy and electricity plans was called for in light of the massive new natural gas discoveries.

Focus of exploration boom

This was the third appraisal by Houston-based Anadarko since August.

The company’s announcement came a month after Italian energy giant ENI announced the discovery of off-shore natural gas deposits in Mozambique to the tune of 22-trillion cubic feet – the largest find in the company’s history.

Mozambique lies at the southern tip of a fault line running along the east African coast to Somalia, forming a geologically inviting region for natural gas that has become the focus of an exploration boom in recent years.

The finds by the two companies have the potential to launch impoverished Mozambique into the top tier of African gas exporters.

Sapa, with additional reporting by SAinfo