The new Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil, Darren Brown, has called on Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi following last week’s announcement that the United States oil major is buying a 25 per cent stake in the natural gas development at Area Four of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

Brown, who took over the top position at ExxonMobil after his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, was appointed US Secretary of State by President Donald Trump, called on Byusi in the central city of Beira, last Friday.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Nyusi, Brown said “we talked of the agreement we have just reached with ENI to develop the oil and gas opportunities that exist in Mozambique”.

“We are proud that we can have the opportunity to bring the global experience we have, the experts and the knowledge we have in this area, to support the development of Mozambique,” he added.

The financial transaction will only be completed after approval by the Mozambican regulatory authorities, which is expected very soon. According to a report on the independent television station, STV, the chairperson of the Mozambique Tax Authority (AT), Amelia Nakhare, has confirmed that capital gains tax will be paid on this transaction.

She could not yet say exactly how much tax would be paid, but the sum would be “very significant”. The calculations are still being done, and Nakhare expected that the Tax Authority can announce sometime this week exactly how much tax is due.

Under the deal, ENI East Africa continued to hold 70 per cent of Rovuma Basin Area Four but this breaks down into 25 per cent held by ENI itself, 25 per cent by ExxonMobil and 20 per cent by CNPC of China. The other partners in Area Four are Kogas of South Korea, Galp-Energia of Portugal, and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH), each with 10 per cent.

Under the new arrangement, ENI will continue to lead the operation to set up a floating liquefied natural gas plant (FLNG) above the Coral South gas field, while ExxonMobil will lead the construction of onshore liquefaction facilities.

Area Four contains total known gas reserves of 85 trillion cubic feet.