Russian company interested in Mozambican hydrocarbons

offshore-Mozambique24 April 2014, Maputo — The Russian gas and oil company Rosneft is interested in investing in Mozambican hydrocarbons, according to a press release from the Mozambican Foreign Ministry,

The interest was expressed at a meeting at the Moscow head office of Rosneft on Tuesday between Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi and Rosneft chairperson Igor Sechin.

At the meeting held after the Russia-Mozambique Business Forum, where Baloi chaired the opening session, the Mozambican minister encouraged Rosneft to invest and to establish partnerships for the development of Mozambique.

Rosneft, with a production of five million barrels of oil a day, and known reserves of 24 billion barrels of crude, is one of the largest hydrocarbon companies in the world. In addition to its oil and gas investments in Russia itself, it is active in 16 other countries, including Algeria, Venezuela, China, and the United States.

At the Forum, speaking to an audience of about 30 Russian business people, Baloi said he hoped that companies from the Russian Federation “will also become major investors in Mozambique”.

“Recognising the great experience and competence that Russian business people have in various sectors, we believe you can play an important role in the development of Mozambique”, added Baloi.

Baloi assured the Forum that Mozambique is a credible and trustworthy country for foreign investors. He said Mozambique possesses “a legal and institutional framework which makes the business environment effective, and makes the investment climate attractive and competitive”.

Godinho Alves, the assistant director of the Mozambican government’s Investment Promotion Centre (CPI) gave a detailed presentation of the Mozambican economy, illustrating Mozambique’s position as the second largest destination in Africa for foreign direct investment in 2013.

His presentation, entitled “Investment and Business Opportunities in Mozambique” covered the strategic geographical position of Mozambique in southern Africa, the country’s sustainable economic growth over the past 20 years, and the impact of the recent large scale discoveries of coal and natural gas.

On Monday, Baloi held what were described as “fruitful” discussions with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. At the ensuing press conference, Baloi praised the role of Russia in training Mozambican technicians in various fields.

About 200 Mozambicans are currently benefitting from Russian scholarships on courses that include engineering, medicine, agricultural sciences, economics, finance, journalism and international relations.

Baloi said there was a growing trend for cooperation between Mozambique and Russia in areas such as trade, geology, hydrocarbons and defence, driven by the “excellent political relations” between the two countries.

For his part, Lavrov told the reporters that Russia is committed to strengthening its relations, not only with Mozambique, but also with the African Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and other African regional organisations.

Baloi will now travel on to Minsk, to begin a three day visit to Belarus, at the invitation of the Belarus Foreign Minister, Vladimir Makei.

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