Qatar Petroleum (QP) has struck a deal with ExxonMobil, buying into three blocks in Mozambique. The Qatari company announced the agreement on December 8. It will receive a 10% stake in one block in the Angoche Basin, A5-B, and two in the Zambezi Basin, Z5-C and Z5-D. Approval is required from the Mozambique government.
Once settled, ExxonMobil will have a 50% stake in the blocks, while Mozambique’s Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) will have 20%, Rosneft will have 20% and QP 10%.
“We are pleased to sign this agreement with our long-time partner ExxonMobil to participate in exploring these frontier offshore basins in Mozambique. This is a milestone for [QP] as it marks its first foray into Mozambique’s promising offshore basins,” said Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, who is also the president and CEO of QP.
Exploration will begin soon, he said, “and we look forward to collaborating with ExxonMobil, Rosneft and ENH on this opportunity.” Taking a stake in the Mozambique blocks is in line with QP’s strategy, with the minister noting the “entry to prospective frontier basins with significant hydrocarbon resource potential”.
Both basins are considered to be frontier and underexplored. The Zambezi blocks cover a total of 10,200 square km, with water depths from 200 to 2,000 metres. The Angoche block covers 6,450 square km, with water depths of 1,800 to 2,500 metres.
QP has been ramping up its move abroad this year, amid Qatar’s deteriorating relationships with its Middle Eastern neighbours, led by Saudi Arabia. In a sign of a move to look beyond its domestic front, Qatar has opted to drop out of OPEC as of January, a decision it has attributed to a desire to focus on its LNG projects.
The country’s gas strength, and plans for expansion, are a tempting prize for the world’s largest oil and gas companies. As such, it is little surprise that Qatar has been sealing deals around the world in partnership with them. In addition to its Mozambique move with ExxonMobil, it has also picked up blocks offshore Mexico with Royal Dutch Shell and struck two large deals with Total. Under the latter partnership, QP will be part of a Total-led group drilling a major exploration well off South Africa, with work due to start imminently.