Mozambique Oil & Gas: Heads of State energy companies replaced, New faces emerge

Omar Mitha is the new CEO of ENH - Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos
Omar Mitha is the new CEO of ENH – Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos

Mozambique’s government has sacked the heads of the state energy companies responsible for overseeing the development of huge offshore gas reserves, cabinet said late on Tuesday. The chairpersons of Mozambique’s National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH) and the National Institute of Petroleum (INP) had been removed, a statement following a cabinet meeting said, without giving a reason.

Arsenio Mabote and Nelson Ocuane, formers INP - National Petroleum Institute and ENH - National Hydrocarbons Company, respectively
Arsenio Mabote and Nelson Ocuane, formers INP – National Petroleum Institute and ENH – National Hydrocarbons Company, respectively

Nelson Ocuane has been replaced as chairperson of the ENH by the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Omar Mitha. While Arsenio Mabote will be replaced at the INP by Carlos Zacarias, who was a member of the State-run company’s board.

The changes come as companies such as Anadarko seek to develop multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas projects in the Southern African nation. In parallel, Exxon Mobil, Italy’s Eni and South Africa’s Sasol are among the firms that recently submitted bids to explore new blocks for oil and gas in Mozambique.

Ongoing is an oil bid, the fifth, for research and production of gas in 15 research areas in northern, central and southern Mozambique, with a total length of 74,402 square kilometers, the tender results should be known in three months .

Built in 1981 the Hydrocarbons Company (ENH) is the State “commercial arm” in natural gas projects, ongoing and prospecting, and also in petroleum operations. The economist who was deputy minister of Industry and Commerce for only seven months will replace Nelson Ocuane who ran ENH state since 2007.

Mozambique Gas reserves estimated at 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been discovered in recent years in our country in researches carried out by consortia led by the Italian company Eni and the US Anadarko in the Rovuma basin. ENH is a shareholder in the projects of Anadarko and ENI.

The state of Hydrocarbons is also a member of the South African multinational Sasol exploring natural gas in Pande and Temane, in Inhambane province.

ENH, a clear strategy to intervene in each sub-sector of the oil and gas industry, has created three subsidiaries: Hydrocarbons Company of Mozambique (CMB), the Pipeline Company of Mozambique (CMG) and ENH Logistics.

The business sector and some civil society organizations have questioned this strategy of ENH because there has beeen little transparency in relation to public procurement and state of the expansion strategy that seems to operate in a kind of monopoly.

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