South African petrochemicals giant Sasol is trying to shed assets to pay off its debt pile and avoid a rights issue of up to $2-billion thus it has opted to give up its licence to explore for gas off the Mozambique coast, the company said recently.

The world’s top producer of motor fuel from coal said, “Sasol will return Block 16/19 in its entirety to the Government of Mozambique. To this end, a withdrawal notification has already been sent to the relevant Mozambican authorities”, the firm said in a statement.

It was awarded the research licence in 2005. In 2013 it abandoned the deepwater part of the licence, retaining the shallow water allotment to assess its hydrocarbon potential.

It is still exploring for gas onshore in the fields of Pande and Temane, in the northern province of Inhambane.

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