(Repeats with broader headline)
* Ups estimate to at least 10 Tcf from at least 6 Tcf
* Now planning 2 LNG trains
* Optimism rises for multiple East African LNG plants
* Anadarko, Cove shares rise
(Add Anadarko shares)
By Tom Bergin
Oct 5 U.S. explorer Anadarko Petroleum Corp
has raised its estimate of the amount of natural gas it
has discovered offshore Mozambique by two thirds, lifting hopes
that East Africa could become a major gas exporter.
Anadarko said on Wednesday it believed its fields in the
deepwater Rovuma Basin contained recoverable reserves of at
least 10 trillion cubic feet, enough to meet an entire year's
consumption by France, Germany, the UK and Italy.
It had previously estimated that the fields, in an
exploration block known as Offshore Area 1, located close to the
border with Tanzania, contained at least 6 Tcf.
The increase has prompted Anadarko and its junior partners
-- a unit of Japan's Mitsui & Co Ltd and Dublin-based
Cove Energy Plc -- to double the size of the planned
facilities they aim to build to extract and freeze the gas and
export it in tankers as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
"Our successful drilling program offshore Mozambique
continues to expand the already world-class resource potential
of this frontier basin," said Bob Daniels, Anadarko senior vice
president, worldwide exploration.
Cove Energy Chief Executive John Craven said he was
confident of additional discoveries in the area, and analysts at
Citigroup predicted reserves of 12 Tcf.
Anadarko's shares traded up 3.3 percent at $63.59 at 1632
GMT, while Cove's London-listed shares closed up 10.9 percent at
Anadarko now plans to bring a second drilling ship to the
area to accelerate work. The partners are still targeting a
final decision on whether to proceed with the LNG plan in the
third quarter of 2013.
The two planned 5 million tonne per annum LNG production
plants, known as "trains", would cost billions to build,
prompting analysts at Citigroup to predict that Cove, which has
a market capitalisation of only $550 million, could seek to sell
all or part of its interest in the block.
Oil and gas companies have flocked to East Africa in recent
years, spurred by high oil prices, advances in deepwater
drilling and difficulties in securing access to reserves in
areas historically seen as more prospective, such as the Middle
Drilling is progressing in Tanzania, Madagascar and Kenya,
and explorers expect more big gas finds.
"If it gets to where we think it's going to go, there will
be LNG plants in at least two positions along the coastline,"
said Andrew Lodge, exploration director at Premier Oil Plc
, which is exploring offshore Kenya.
Although the area is seen as predominantly gas rich,
companies are also hoping for oil discoveries. Lodge noted that
oil seeps were evident on the Tanzanian Island of Pemba.
The recent discoveries have also boosted hopes for
development across the region, potentially paving the way for
heavy, energy-intensive industry to spring up in impoverished
Mozambique and Tanzania.
South Africa's energy minister told a conference in London
in June she hoped a gas pipeline could be built to South Africa,
helping that country tackle its energy deficit.
The optimism has prompted many big international players
such as Britain's BG Group Plc , Italy's Eni SpA ,
Norway's Statoil ASA and Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp
to turn their attention to the region.
Nonetheless, there are also several small explorers such as
London-listed Dominion Petroleum Ltd and Ophir Energy
Plc , which have assets in Tanzania, and Australia's
Flow Energy and Pancontinental Oil and Gas NL , which
are active in Kenya.
Shares in Dominion rose 8.2 percent.
Analysts predict a rash of consolidation, with bigger
players buying the minnows or their assets.
"The large potential resource base and need for significant
capital investment to complete the development projects should
see East Africa become a key focus for the large-cap oils,"
analysts at Citigroup said last month.
(Additional reporting by Divya Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by
Erica Billingham, David Holmes and Will Waterman)