Nazário Bangalane has been sworn in as the new chairman of Mozambique’s Instituto Nacional de Petroleo (INP).
Bangalane was previously INP’s director of supervision and safety.
Mozambique Prime Minister Adriano Maleiane said the new INP head would need to address the challenges of exploration. This would cover both regulating operations and managing the “enormous expectations” around gas projects in the Rovuma Basin.
Mozambique Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Carlos Zacarias oversaw the appointment, which took place at the prime minister’s office in Maputo.
Bangalane said he was confident in the legacy of the previous managers at INP. Zacarias was the previous head of INP. He became minister in March this year.
Zacarias replaced Arsenio Mabote, who was the first chairman of INP, in 2015.
The Mozambique cabinet approved Bangalane’s appointment on June 21. The INP statement noted that this coincided with Eni starting commissioning at the Coral Sul floating LNG (FLNG) project, in the northern Rovuma Basin.
Eni, on June 18, said it had introduced hydrocarbons to the FLNG plant. It expects to produce its first LNG cargo in the second half of the year. The 3.4 million tonne per year FLNG vessel arrived offshore Mozambique in early January. The company hooked the vessel up to the six underwater wells in May.
While the FLNG unit is making progress, TotalEnergies’ Mozambique LNG project is facing a harder path. The French company put the project under force majeure in April 2021, following a terrorist attack. There have been some indications that the company is eager to resume work later this year, but sporadic attacks have continued in Mozambique’s north.
INP has responsibility for Mozambique’s licence round process, with a sixth round currently under way. The agency will close this at the end of August and expects to publish results in November.
Companies are becoming more interested in exploration again. Eni has talked about drilling the Raia-1 in the untested Angoche Basin.
The new chairman completed his master’s in petroleum engineering and geosciences at the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands.