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Eni says Coral South LNG is still scheduled for launch in 2022

Italy’s Eni says it is on track to launch the Coral South LNG project offshore Mozambique next year, despite the violence and civil unrest that has slowed down TotalEnergies’ plans for development of a nearby field.

A spokesperson for the Italian major told S&P Global Platts earlier this week that Eni aimed to begin extracting and processing gas from the Coral section of the offshore block known as Area 4 in 2022, as previously anticipated. The project’s timeline has not changed as a result of events in Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, which lies directly to the west of Area 4 and the other offshore blocks slated for development within the framework of large-scale LNG projects, she said.

“We confirm that so far, the violence in the north of Mozambique has not affected the Coral South project timeline, and we confirm startup in 2022 as per [the] schedule,” the spokesperson said, without commenting further.

Eni has not had to follow TotalEnergies in suspending work in Mozambique because all operations related to the Coral South project are being carried out offshore. The Italian company will not just be using offshore facilities to extract gas; it will also employ a floating LNG (FLNG) plant with a capacity of 3.4mn tonnes per year (tpy). This facility is slated to become the first LNG plant ever to work in an ultra-deepwater zone.

Total, meanwhile, has opted to produce gas offshore and send its production to an onshore liquefaction plant on the Afungi Peninsula. This choice has left it vulnerable to attacks carried out by Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamo (ASWJ), an Islamist group that mounted a violent campaign to seize control of Cabo Delgado in 2017.

Eni was the first international oil company (IOC) to sign on to a major LNG scheme in Mozambique. It discovered the Coral field at Area 4 in 2012 and made an FID in favour of going forward with the $10bn Coral South LNG project in 2017. It has said it intends to drill six development wells in 2,000-metre-deep water to provide feedstock for the FLNG.

The shareholders in the project are Mozambique Rovuma Venture (MRV), a joint venture owned by Eni (the operator), ExxonMobil (US) and China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC); Galp (Portugal); KOGAS (South Korea), and ENH, Mozambique’s national oil company (NOC).