Mozambique Minister's Sacking Will Not Affect Gas Project Decision


PARIS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The sacking of Mozambique's energy minister will not affect Italian oil firm Eni's final investment decision on an offshore gas project there, Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said on Friday.

Energy Minister Pedro Couto was sacked by the president on Thursday, a month before Eni is due to finalise its decision on the Coral offshore gas project, worth tens of billions of dollars. No reason was given for his dismissal.

"The government's decision will have no impact," Descalzi told journalists in Paris.

Descalzi said all approvals for Coral had been obtained from the government and major policies and special decrees related to the project had been completed last year.

"The last step is the project financing which is independent," he said, adding that a final investment decision could come as expected around October or November.

The southern African state discovered offshore gas reserves six years ago amounting to some 85 trillion cubic feet, one of the largest finds in a decade.

The gas offers Mozambique an opportunity to transform itself from one of the world's poorest countries into a middle-income state and a major global liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.

Eni met bankers in London last week about project financing to develop the field.

Descalzi also said that Eni was not looking to sell stakes in any other assets in Africa except in its Area 4 concession in Mozambique and in the Zohr gas project in Egypt.

"In Zohr because we have 100 percent of it and it is a big investment and production which is why it is reasonable to share the risk with other partners," he said.

(Reporting by Bate Felix and Stephen Jewkes, editing by Gus Trompiz and Adrian Croft)


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