Mozambique’s Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario has told Estevao Tomas Rafael Pale, the new chairman of state-owned ENH, to ensure the country's mega-liquefied natural gas projects come on stream according to their original schedules.

Pale, 65, replaced Omar Mitha, who had held the position since August 2015.

It is unclear why Mitha has been removed from the position.

Do Rosario said that Pale “must guarantee the implementation of (liquefied) natural gas exploitation projects within the schedules approved in the development plans".

The current schedule calls for Total's Mozambique LNG project to enter production in 2024, with the ExxonMobil-led Rovuma LNG scheme following in 2025.

However, Mitha told Upstream in an interview in November that "there could be slippage in terms of schedule. It’s only natural in such large-scale projects with logistical constraints in a remote area that (the schedule) might slip but we will do our utmost to avoid this.”

Another challenge is that ENH has still not secured funding for its share of project costs, which Do Rosario said has to be another priority for Pale.

“The chairman is also recommended to prioritise the financial closing of ENH’s participation in different natural gas projects, thereby ensuring the maximisation of gains expected by the country,” he said.

Pale was previously chief executive officer of CMH, a domestic gas company that is an ENH subsidiary and is Sasol Petroleum’s partner in the Pande and Temane gas fields.

Between 1996 and 2005, he was National Director of Mines in Mozambique’s Ministry of Mineral Resources & Energy, where he was responsible for the supervision and control of mineral activities as well as the formulation and implementation of the mining and geological policy.

He was also a director of numerous companies in the mining sector, including Promaco and Mining Development Company.

Pale has a masters in financial economics from the London School of Oriental & African Studies, another masters degree in mining engineering from the Camborne School of Mines in the UK and is an economics graduate from Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique.