South African petrochemicals giant Sasol is looking at the feasibility of building a pipeline in southern Mozambique to enable light oil it has discovered pn this country to be exported by sea.

In May, Sasol began a programme to drill 13 new wells in Inhassoro district, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane. Test drilling of two wells had already found small quantities of light oil.

However, as the company does not know the quantity of light oil available, it is looking at two transportation options — moving the light oil by road or by sea.

Road will be used if the quantity is small. However, should a sizeable amount of light oil be discovered, the company would wish to pipe the oil to a Floating Storage and Offloading unit (FSO), from which it would be pumped into oil tankers.

Sasol has commissioned an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the proposed pipeline, which would run from a new Liquids Processing Facility (LPF) adjacent to its natural gas Central Processing Facility (CPF) at Temane. The pipeline would end about 50 kilometres northeast of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park.

According to a report in Tuesday’s issue the local daily newspaper Noticias, the EIA is being carried out by the companies Environmental Resources Management and Impacto. It will lead to a draft scoping study being presented to the public in Inhassoro and Maputo later this month.

The Central Processing Facility is currently fed by 24 onshore production wells. It produces 197 Gigajoules of gas per year and about 250 cubic metres of gas condensate per day. This gas is piped 900 kilometres to South Africa, with spur lines along the route to supply Mozambican customers.