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KOGAS finds more gas in Mozambique field

Daily output expected to reach 3,200 tons of natural gas off East Africa

The Korea Gas Corp. has found an additional reserve of natural gas in waters off Mozambique with a potential quantity enough to supply Koreans for six months, the government said Wednesday.

The state-run energy firm, together with co-developers, detected another pool with up to 7.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from the East African offshore block, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.

The latest discovery thus raised the estimated recoverable resource from 22.5 TCF to 30 TCF of natural gas, or about 680 million tons.

Eni S.p.A., Italy’s oil giant, holds a 70 percent stake in the project. KOGAS, Portugal’s Galp Energia and Mozambique’s state-funded ENH own 10 percent each.

A production test at the Mamba North 1 well resulted in a daily output of 800 tons of natural gas and some condensate, the ministry said. The number is expected to reach 3,200 tons when the project enters full-fledged production.

“(KOGAS and other participants) will likely find more gas as they plan to drill a third well 10 kilometers southeast of the Mamba North 1, and two others within this year,” the ministry said in a statement.

KOGAS has been engaged in the deepwater exploration program since 2007 to help stabilize energy supplies and curb the heavy reliance on imports in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Korea, the world’s fifth-largest crude buyer and the second-largest importer of liquefied natural gas, imports almost all its energy needs.

High energy prices have been a major constraint on the national economy. A multitude of state-run and private companies are pushing into overseas resources exploration in a bid to hedge against spiraling crude and metal prices.

At home, the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. teamed up with Daewoo International Corp. and STX Energy Co. to extract natural gas from the continental shelf in the East Sea.

According to Barclays Capital, oil and gas investments will hit a record high of $598 billion worldwide this year, up 10 percent from 2011.

Mozambique, which became independent from Portugal in 1975, is one of the world’s poorest nations with almost no domestic production of energy.

By Shin Hyon-hee (