059-i. Advice on ToR and review: EIA for offshore oil/gas exploration - Mozambique

The NCEA advised on Terms of Reference (ToR) or guidelines for EIAs for exploration of oil and gas resources near a maritime national park. Subsequently, it reviewed the EIAs and concluded that the information presented was sufficient for taking a decision on licensing for deep water exploration activities. It was however found to be insufficient for decisions on licensing shallow water activities.

Advisory reports and other documents

20 Apr 2006: Terms of reference
Accompanying letter PO
Advice PO
Appendices Advice
29 Sep 2006: Advisory review
Accompanying letter
Accompanying letter PO
Advice PO
Appendices Advice
Appendices Advice PO

Significant details

The government of Mozambique awarded two companies, Sasol and ENH, a concession of 25 years to explore two maritime blocks on hydrocarbons (oil/gas) and harvest these products. These products are located closely to the Bazaruto Archipelago, which is a national maritime park known for its natural beauty and unique biodiversity. Due to tourism development, the conservation of the park is already under stress; oil and gas explorations could worsen its situation. These conflicting economic and environmental interests in the area called for an SEA. On request of the Environmental Ministry (MICOA), the NCEA drafted guidelines for the proposed SEA. However, upon finalization of these guidelines it became clear that Sasol and ENH did not have the intention to undertake an SEA. In fact, the government of Mozambique had awarded the concession to these companies without any SEA requirement. Sasol and ENH therefore planned to undertake EIA for various activities (seismic surveys, exploration well drilling, well testing) as stipulated by Mozambican EIA regulations.

MICOA then asked the NCEA to extract from the draft SEA guidelines which were already prepared, a set of generic guidelines for the proposed EIAs. In addition, it was agreed that the NCEA would review the draft EIA guidelines which had been prepared on behalf of Sasol and ENH. In its advisory review, the NCEA concluded that the draft guidelines were of sufficient quality.

In September 2006 the NCEA reviewed the EIA report and observed that:

  • the peer review that was included in the EIA was of good quality;
  • the NCEA agreed with most of its findings and conclusions;
  • the information in the EIA report was insufficient for licensing exploration activities in the shallow water prospect;
  • the information in the EIA report was sufficient to license exploration activities in the deep water prospect, if certain conditions are fulfilled (a.o. having an approved Oil Spill Response Plan, Safety Plan, Monitoring Plan, etc.)

In addition, NCEA reiterated its support for making a sustainable development plan for the area (4 coastal districts in Inhambane) via Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Rolf Pieter Martin Bak
Maarten Jan Brolsma
Chris Brown
Peter Tarr
Herminio Lima Alberto Tembe

Chair: Klaas-Jan Beek
Technical secretary: Reinoud Post

Proponent and Component Authority

Sasol Petroleum International
Hidrocarbonetos de Moçambique (ENH)

Component Authority
Ministério da Terra, Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Rural (MITADER, Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development)

Further details

Country: Mozambique

Last modified: 10 May 2019