Thirteen players — including two from Russia — will hear this week if they have succeeded in their plans to take part in Mozambique’s upcoming licensing round.

Mozambique's sixth licensing round will offering 16 offshore blocks when it opens formally in late August this year after the completion of a pre-qualification (PQ) exercise.

The list of companies submitting PQ documents includes incumbent Western, Asian and regional players, underlining how attractive Mozambique remains despite the Islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado province having stalled some $50 billion worth of liquefied natural gas projects.

Five potential newcomers to Mozambique — from Africa, Asia and Europe — have also gone through the PQ process.

TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil and Eni — the major western stakeholders in the delayed onshore Mozambique LNG and Rovuma LNG projects as well as the Coral floating LNG scheme due on stream this year — submitted PQ documents to INP, Maputo’s upstream regulator.

India’s ONGC Videsh — a Mozambique LNG partner — has also submitted application, as has Petrochina, the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Coporation, which has a key stake in the Rovuma and Coral schemes.

In addition, indicating the importance of Mozambican hydrocarbons to Beijing, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Sinopec have each submitted PQ documentation.

Neither of these Chinese players has exposure to Mozambique in their portfolios.

Russian players Rosneft and Novatek also want to bid for acreage, and while Rosneft is no newcomer to Mozambique — it is a partner in ExxonMobil-operated blocks in the frontier Angoche and Zambezi basins — the same is not true for Novatek, the major player Yamal and Arctic 2 LNG projects in its home country.

QatarEnergy is keen to boost its exposure to Mozambique — it also holds stakes in the Angoche and Zambezi basins — and completed PQ documentation, as did South Africa’s Sasol which is the legacy oil and gas investor in Mozambique, operating the Temane, Pande and Inhassoro fields.

The acreage offered in the round has also attracted what would be two newcomers to Mozambique — Nigeria’s Aiteo E&P and London-registered Discover Exploration.

Aiteo’s current portfolio is centred on Nigeria, where it operates an asset in Nembe Creek that witnessed a huge blowout earlier this year.

Privately owned Discover is the successor company to Cove Energy, whose stake in Area 1 — the offshore source of gas for Mozambique LNG — was acquired in 2012 by Thailand’s PTTEP.

Discover — led by Michael Blaha — has been operating acreage offshore the Comoro Islands just east of Mozambique since 2013, but has yet to drill there.

The INP said the list of selected companies able to bid in the round will be published this week.

Companies will have until 31 August this year to submit their bids, with the results to be announced on 30 November.

Of the 16 blocks on offer, five are in the Rovuma basin, seven in Angoche basin, two in the Zambezi Delta and another two off Save Province.

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