, MAPUTO, June 12 – US-group Anadarko Petroleum said on Monday it discovered up to 30 trillion cubic feet (850 billion cubic metres) of natural gas off the Mozambique coast confirming the country as a new gas frontier.
Texas-based Anadarko said it had found more than 92 metres of “high quality” natural gas at its Atum discovery well in northern Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin.
“We estimate this new complex … holds 10 to 30-plus trillion cubic feet of incremental and recoverable natural gas resources,” the company’s senior vice president for world-wide exploration Bob Daniels said in a statement.
The Atum discovery is expected to increase the bidding war between Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production and Royal Dutch Shell for UK-listed Cove Energy, whose 8.5-percent stake in the fields is currently up for sale.
The latest find is connected to a discovery of at least 7 trillion cubic feet at Anadarko’s nearby “Golfinho” well last month.
Four other wells will be drilled in the area to explore the discovery.
“We still have additional exploration opportunities that could expand the resource potential further,” said Anadarko CEO Al Walker.
Anadarko now believes it will be able to extract between 30 and 60 trillion cubic feet of gas from its prospecting fields — double the estimate the company gave last November.
The firm’s announcement comes less than a month after rival Italian group ENI found up to 10 tcf of natural gas, also in the Rovuma Basin.
Anadarko is planning to build a large complex in order to liquefy and export its gas finds pending a final investment decision on the project next year.
Anadarko holds a majority 36.5 percent share with five junior partners. The company plans to begin selling gas from Mozambique in 2018.
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 two companies’ finds have the potential to launch impoverished Mozambique into the top tier of African gas exporters.