India set to sign fresh oil deal with Mozambique

India and Mozambique on Wednesday agreed to accelerate cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector, after a meeting between Indian petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily and Mozambique's minister for mineral resources Esperanca Bias on the closing day of the Petrotech 2014 international oil and gas conference in New Delhi.

A draft of the MoU between the two governments has been prepared and sent to the Indian High Commission in Mozambique.

"We need to expedite the signing of this MoU as soon as possible," Moily said after the meeting.

Bias said, "We have invited Mr Moily and the Indian ministerial delegation for the formal signing of this MoU, to document this government-to-government cooperation."

Bias later told the media that the first production from Rovuma basin in the country is expected to start in 2018, in which case India is likely to get the first LNG cargo from Mozambique in 2019.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and Oil India Ltd together hold a 20-per cent stake in the Rovuma Area 1 offshore block in Mozambique. The other partners in Area 1 include Anadarko (operator of the project), ENH (the national oil corporation of Mozambique), Mitsui, Bharat Petro Resources Ltd (BPRL, which holds 10 per cent), and PTTEP.

According to an official statement, Moily urged the Mozambique minister to expedite the resolution of consortium-related issues and also fast-track the development of the discovered assets in the Rovuma Basin.

Among the Indian companies with whom the consortium is holding discussions are Bharat Petroleum, Petronet LNG and GAIL