According to the president of Mozambique’s national oil and gas company (ENH), oil companies operating in the country will need to invest $31b over the next few years to begin exploration of the natural gas reserves discovered in the north.

Omar Mithá said operating costs could reach $5.6b, to which another $10b must be added for construction of natural gas liquefaction units, Macau Daily Times reported.

In his estimates the chairman of ENH included $3.3b for further development studies and $$4.4b in interest payments related to the loans needed to build processing plants and bank costs, according to MacauHub.

The remaining $7b for the total amount will be invested in the Area 4 block, operated by Italian group ENI, in which ENH holds a 10% stake.

Mithá said the amount given was based on a scenario in which 55% of the investment is represented by debt and 45% by equity.