July 9 (UPI) -- Liquefied natural gas will start processing from a field off the coast of Mozambique by 2024 now that the government has the development plans, partners said.
Exxon Mobil and Italian energy company Eni lead the Rovuma liquefied natural gas joint venture in Mozambique. The partners said Monday the government now has the development plans for the first phase of the project that will draw natural gas from the Mamba fields off the country's coast.
Each train, the part of the facility that would convert gas to the super-cooled liquid form, could process as much as 55 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
"The size of the project makes it not only an important investment in the country, but also supports economic growth and opens new opportunities for Mozambicans," Stefano Maione, Eni's executive vice-president for the Mozambique program, said in a statement.
East African basins, led by reservoirs in Mozambique and Tanzania, are home to more than 25 percent of the natural gas discoveries made worldwide between 2010 and 2013.
Eni last year started the implementation phase for its Coral South LNG project, a floating facility drawing in the gas reserves discovered by the company off the coast of Mozambique in deep waters. GE Oil & Gas signed two five-year contracts with Eni to provide equipment for offshore developments tied to Mozambique's gas assets.
For its joint venture with Exxon, the Italian company will steer construction and operation of the offshore gas production facilities, while Exxon will handle the liquefaction aspects. China National Petroleum Corp. is another joint venture partner.
LNG is emerging as an industry because of the flexibility of export options. Conventional natural gas is piped across national borders, which exposes it to geopolitical risks and trade issues.
Exxon and Eni plan to submit a final investment decision by next year. LNG production would then begin by 2024.