India-based Oil and Natural Gas (ONGC) and its consortium partners are planning to invest $24bn to develop the Area 1 block of Rovuma Basin in northern Mozambique.

Anadarko Petroleum operates the block with 26.5% stake while other partners include ONGC overseas investment arm ONGC Videsh with 16% stake, Bharat Petroleum 10%, Oil India 4%, Mitsui 20%, ENH 15% and PTTEP 8.5%.

A consortium official said the independent fields will be initially developed at the license area with first gas production slated to commence from first quarter of 2020.

Located in water depths ranging from 900m to 1,600m, the Rovuma Area 1 is estimated to hold recoverable resources in excess of 75 trillion cubic feet, reported Press Trust of India.

A consortium senior official said: "The Mozambique government has passed a decree law, paving way for start of construction work on the project.

"An estimated $23-24bn will be required to bring first set of discoveries in Rovuma Area-1 on to production and convert that gas into LNG.

"The decree law essentially means that the cost of bringing the gas field to production as well as building of liquefaction (LNG) plant will be cost recoverable i.e. all investments will be recouped from sale of gas first before profits are shared with Mozambique government."

The official said that the partners are planning to achieve financial closure by December or early January for the project, which already secured $16bn.

An onshore liquefication plant will be developed to convert the gas produced from the field to liquefied natural gas (LNG), which will then be exported to consumers including India in cryogenic ships.

The Area-1 project will involve development of two LNG trains, each with a capacity of about 6 million tons per annum, from the Golfinho-Atum field in the block.

Till date, the partners discovered seven gas fields within the block.