MAPUTO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Mozambique on Thursday opened up 15 new offshore and onshore areas for gas and oil exploration and production in its north, centre and south, a week after national elections which are expected to return the ruling Frelimo party to power.
The blocks on offer in the latest licensing round launched in Maputo and London included three new areas of the northern Rovuma Basin, where U.S. oil major Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Italy's Eni are already developing multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects.
Around 180 trillion cubic feet of gas have been found in the Rovuma Basin, enough to supply Germany, Britain, France and Italy for 18 years.
Mozambican officials expect more than $30 billion will be invested initially in the natural gas sector to build capacity to produce 20 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with first exports due to start in 2018.
Other areas offered on Thursday in the fifth gas and oil licensing round held by Mozambique included six offshore blocks in the central Zambezi Delta, and two more off Angoche in the northern province of Nampula.
Mineral Resources Minister Esperanca Bias led the presentation in London and Jose Branquinho, director of resource evaluation at the National Institute of Petroleum (INP), delivered the one in Maputo.
The onshore areas on offer were three in the central-south Pande-Temane zone and one at Palmeira in the south.
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