The Business Year

Nelson Ocuane

MOZAMBIQUE - Energy & Mining

Talk of the Town

Chairman & CEO, National Oil Company of Mozambique (ENH)


Nelson Ocuane was born in Maputo in 1970, and he graduated from Mondlane University after studying Geology and specializing in Petroleum Geology. From 2005 to 2007 he was an Executive Board Member for the National Petroleum Institute of Mozambique. In 2007, he was appointed as Chairman & CEO of ENH, and he is also a Non-Executive Member of the Matola Gas Company (MGC). Throughout his career he has often been a part of various committees in the oil and gas sector as well as organizing the Oil and Gas Trade and Finance Conference in 2005 and the Colloquium of African Geology in 2006.

The National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH) currently acts as a partner rather than an operator in Mozambican oil and gas concessions. How do you see this changing in the future? The […]

The National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH) currently acts as a partner rather than an operator in Mozambican oil and gas concessions. How do you see this changing in the future?

The goal of ENH is to become an operator in Mozambique’s oil and gas business within 20 to 40 years. Over the course of that period, Mozambique will gain the technology and human resources necessary to assume field operations. Another area of interest is marketing, and we plan to champion the marketing of Mozambican gas.

What is ENH doing to facilitate that knowledge transfer?

We have 11 concessions in Mozambique, and ENH has shared in each along with international companies. In these joint ventures, there are committees that complete the technical review of information. We also hold operating committee meetings, which is where all decisions are made. Looking at the way we are structured, in one concession we have more than one partner—up to three or four. With this amount of interaction we can really learn a lot. In the case of Rovuma, where ENI is the operator, one of the international partners is Kogas, which has extensive experience in LNG as a seller in addition to its shipping business. Its knowledge is being transferred to certain entities internally. People from ENI come here and go through the process, and we also send people to ENI’s technical academy for a year or two. We have people in Portugal, too, at Galp Energia Academy, which has been heavily involved in Brazil and Angola. We are also looking for experience from all over the world. We ask ourselves: How did Petrobras grow? How did Sonagas get to the level that it is at today? We are learning from those models and are pleased with the progress being made.

How would you compare the way that Mozambique is developing its hydrocarbon reserves to the way it has been done in other countries?

We came in early, starting production 10 years ago with just one small field. Today, we have more than 100 tcf of natural gas, which means that we have enough natural resources for four to five generations. This is in contrast to Angola, where Sonagas was given the blocks when the 40-year concessions of international companies expired. It started at the end, and had 30 years of production and experience. So the question now is: how do you strategically position yourself to have relevance? The relevance does not come from the resource sitting in the ground; it comes from how it is used. Mozambique is a long, narrow country with 2,400 kilometers of coastline. If you build east-west infrastructure, it becomes easy to connect to the markets of the interior: Malawi, Zambia, and South Africa. These markets will either need energy from Mozambique, or else natural gas to build their own small industries. Then, there is talk of having four LNG trains, which could produce up to 20 million tons per year for international export. For example, Qatar now produces around 47 million tons. We could produce almost 50% of what Qatar is currently managing. A country can become globally and regionally relevant with its resources, and, consequently, access to finance for the country improves. Agriculture, which is the main driving force of the country’s economy, will also receive a boost. When you have all these projects combined, you see more people coming in, you have internal needs to meet, and you improve the production of your crops. The sustainable management of resources leads to the economic development of the country.



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