Oil and gas exploration seismic survey operations will be launched next week off the coast of Zambézia and Nampula, with the aim of establishing if hydrocarbons exist there in quantities that justify commercial exploitation.
The survey, which will last until April 2018, will be carried out over a distance of 20 kilometres from the coast of both provinces, covering the districts of Memba, Ilha de Moçambique, Nacala-a-Velha, Nacala Porto and Mossuril in Nampula; Quelimane, Nicoadala, Namacurra, Maganja da Ciosa, Chinde and Pebane in Zambezia.
During the exercise, samples will be collected to help determine whether or not there are reserves of oil and natural gas in these regions, and how big they might be.
In connection with the programme, the city of Quelimane on Thursday hosted public meeting to present the schedule of the survey works. Petrolium representative Bruno Webder said during the discussion that maritime safety, environmental impact and safety of marine Webder species issues had all been taken care of, so conditions were right to proceed with the research.
The aim of Petrolium, one of the two multinationals involved in the project, was to map the natural resources, Webder said.
Some representatives of civil society organisations present at the seminar have expressed reserve about the fate of revenues from oil and gas exploration, but have nevertheless stated that the activity can improve the economy.
Figures obtained by Notícias indicate that the first, 2012 survey conducted in Micaune, Chinde district, revealed evidence of oil. A seismic survey undertaken in the same region in the colonial period was later abandoned.