US oil company Anadarko Petroleum Corporation has discovered oil deposits at a depth of 5,100 metres off the coast of northern Mozambique. The announcement was made by Mozambique's minister of mineral resources, Esperanca Bias, who claimed that it was the first time oil had been found offshore in the east African region. She noted however, that although the presence of oil had been confirmed, the company was still in the very early stages of evaluating its commercial viability.

Anadarko, which was a minority partner with BP in the disastrous explosion and subsequent deepwater leak from the Horizon/Macondo well in the Mexican Gulf, signed a contract with the Mozambican government for the drilling of six exploratory wells in the Rovuma basin in 2006. Last year their Windjammer exploratory well off the coast of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique's northeastern region, discovered natural gas.

British oil explorer Cove Energy, partner of Anadarko in Mozambique, has said that it is unable to exploit their latest find commercially and is awaiting a more detailed analysis to deduce whether more viable oil could be located nearby.

Three other energy companies are currently prospecting hydrocarbons in northern Mozambique, including Italian firm ENI, Petronas from Malaysia and Norway's Statoil.

Andarko has also been involved in the discovery of oil in the large Jubilee field off the coast of Ghana with UK partner Tullow Oil, and in July the US company announced more finds close by, this time in the Owo field in the deepwater Tano block.

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