A $26 billion gas project in the Rovuma Basin will not only be of great benefit to the sector and the country, but act as a springboard for other key infrastructure projects in Mozambique and the region, says public law and project finance expert Mafalda Teixeira de Abreu.
“It’s the biggest LNG project in Africa, and one of the biggest projects of any kind, so was a great challenge,” says Teixeira de Abreu. “We believe that the experience we gained with this project is going to be crucial for newer ones in, for example, electricity, on the sale of energy, so it’s very important.”
The Rovuma Basin, offshore of Mozambique, is one of the largest gas discoveries made, worldwide, in recent decades, with 150 trillion cubic feet of gas resources. Up to half will be accessed via the world-scale, integrated Area 1 Mozambique LNG project; the $26 billion to develop infrastructure and initiate production is the largest Foreign Direct Investment in Africa.
Teixeira de Abreu is part of a multidisciplinary team across Abreu Advogados in Portugal and JLA Advogados in Mozambique that has advised international lenders and the Africa Development Bank. The two firms have worked together for more than a decade, offering clients operating in Mozambique a great mix of local connection and international expertise.
“We have a close partnership, providing clients with tremendous service in all sectors,” says Deivid Sacur, an associate at JLA Advogados who’s also part of that multi-disciplinary team.
Sacur works on more local aspects and regulations in JLA Advogados along with a team of 10 lawyers under the coordination of the managing partner Zara Jamal; JLA Advogados was recently named African Law Firm of the Year (small practice) for 2020.
“In this particular project our clients are not the producers of the resource,” says Sacur. “But with Abreu International, and their experience in countries like Angola, we can provide expertise in assisting foreign and domestic companies in all segments of the industry.”
The partnership between JLA and Abreu allows the firms to better deal with a variety of challenges – eg security, regulatory frameworks that may change, volatility – relating to projects of massive scale, long time frames, and location – says Mafalda Teixeira de Abreu, Professional Partner at Abreu Advogados.
“The challenge is to build and help the project and the government of Mozambique find ways to make it secure and feasible in the future, because these are long-term contracts for twenty, thirty, fifty years,” says Teixeira de Abreu, highlighting the benefit of JLA operating locally.
Covid has really made clear how beneficial it is to have people ‘on the ground’, to be there to meet with regulatory entities and others, adds Teixeira de Abreu.
“The advantages we have with our relationship is, you have the local team in Mozambique, working day-to-day assisting the lenders, and a back-up team in Lisbon with people with different experiences and know-how ranging from public law, corporate and financial, and arbitration, who consolidated great experience working for years on these topics internationally. The synergies are very good, and we know from experience that it’s very useful to have someone ‘in the field’.”
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