MAPUTO, June 3 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp's final investment decision (FID) on a blockbuster $30 billion gas project in Mozambique's extreme north should "in principle" come in 2021, the chairman of its National Petroleum Institute (INP) said on Wednesday.
The oil giant postponed its FID for the project, which had been expected this year, in March as the coronavirus outbreak and an oil price slump forced firms to delay projects and slash spending.
"The final investment decision of the Rovuma LNG project has been postponed to, in principle, next year," INP Chairman Carlos Zacarias told a press conference, referring to the project in the gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado led by Exxon.
When it announced the delay, Exxon did not say when it planned to make a call on FID for the project. An Exxon spokesman did not immediately provide a comment.
Other big oil companies, including France's Total and Italy's Eni, are also involved in projects in the region, home to one of the biggest gas finds in a decade.
The projects have the potential to transform the economy of Mozambique, one of the world's least developed economies. But apart from the coronavirus, the projects are complicated by part from militant Islamists in the province with links to Islamic State. (Reporting by Manuel Mucari Writing by Emma Rumney; Editing by Tom Brown)