This post, co-authored with Alan Gelb, was originally published in Financial Times: This is Africa
On November 28 Anadarko Petroleum doubled the estimate of its massive Mozambique gas discovery. If this proves correct, Mozambique will become a major gas exporter and can expect a hefty windfall.
Mozambique is not alone. Per square mile, proven sub-soil assets in poor countries — notably in Africa — are only about one quarter of those in better-explored, rich countries. Not surprisingly, high prices and new technologies are driving new oil, gas, and mineral discoveries across the developing world. Billions of dollars will be pumped into countries like Uganda, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia and Bolivia. While this should be good news, it also raises concerns.