The Mozambique Government has signed oil exploration agreements with US-based energy firm Exxon Mobil and Russian oil company Rosneft.
These deals are expected to draw investments of between $700m and $900m.
Mozambique Mineral Resources Minister Max Tonela was reported by Bloomberg as saying that the country expects to become a major exporter of oil and gas.
Exxon country head Jos Evens was quoted by the news agency as saying that the company is evaluating seismic data and will start a ‘drilling campaign in the coming few years’.
The firms are expected to drill a minimum of ten wells, with eight being offshore.
State-owned oil company Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) will own stakes of 15% to 30% in the projects.
Similar agreements are expected to be signed with South Africa-based energy company Sasol and Italian energy giant Eni SpA later this month.
The projects are to start production from 2022. Mozambique is looking to tap its oil and natural gas resources to cut its debts.
Exxon in collaboration with Eni is already developing a floating liquefied natural-gas project in the country. The company is considering investing in the Rovuma LNG project by mid-2019. This plan is pending a final decision.
Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum is expected to announce a final decision on its Mozambique gas project next year, which will be similar in size to Exxon’s.
In August, the Government of Mozambique gave approval to a series of contracts giving exclusive concession rights to major oil companies to explore offshore field Block 5, after concluding four years of negotiations that have been disrupted by delays.
The contracts would see new exploration project concessions being given to Norway’s Equinor, Italy’s Eni, ExxonMobil, Delonex Energy, and South African-based Sasol, as well as Mozambique’s national oil company ENH.