Possible partnerships between Powell and Mozambique explored

Posted 11/29/19

As Mozambique looks for ways to develop its oil, gas and other industries, a couple of officials from the African country are turning to the Powell area for possible ideas and partnerships.

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Possible partnerships between Powell and Mozambique explored


As Mozambique looks for ways to develop its oil, gas and other industries, a couple of officials from the African country are turning to the Powell area for possible ideas and partnerships.

Last week, the leader of an engineering and construction management company and a representative from the Mozambican Embassy in Washington, D.C., paid a three-day visit to the area.

“We would like to see Wyoming’s private sector doing business with the Mozambican private sector,” said Abreu Muhimua, the CEO of the engineering corporation ENCOM.

He added that, “Mozambique has [a] huge oil and gas reserve, particularly gas reserve, and we believe it is in our own best interests to talk to you guys to understand more of the industry, to exchange experience.”

Muhimua and Godinho Alves, a commercial counselor with the embassy, came expecting to learn more about the extractive industries, but were surprised to learn about the area’s significant agriculture and tourism.

They also came away impressed with the hands-on vocational training offered at Powell High School.

“We found it very interesting,” Alves said. “It’s something that we can probably also try to learn from you.”

It was a quick trip for the Mozambicans, as they flew into Cody around noon on Wednesday and left on Friday. But they made several connections while here, including with Powell Economic Partnership Executive Director Christine Bekes.

“The relationship is still early,” Bekes said, “but there did seem to be some synergies, oddly enough, between Mozambique and Wyoming.”

She sees opportunities not only in energy and agriculture, but also for Northwest College and its international program to connect with Mozambique.

Bekes’ future plans include “just continuing the conversation” and figuring out what opportunities might line up between Powell and the Big Horn Basin and the foreign country.

“From an economic development perspective, it’s really about opening up any connections that make sense,” she said.

Muhimua and Alves’ visit to Powell came at the invitation of Scott Hecht, president of Wyoming Completion Technologies.

The federal government’s U.S. Commercial Service — which helps create matches between domestic and foreign businesses — set up Hecht’s first meeting with Muhimua at an oil and gas conference a few years ago.

Wyoming Completion Technologies’ primary products are oil field tools and Hecht said he learned that “it’s way too early for Mozambique to be worried about oil tools.”

Still, he sees plenty of possibilities in the country, which is still getting its oil and gas industry off (or out of) the ground.

“It’s what Wyoming was 100 years ago,” Hecht said, adding, “I think if you’re adventuresome and really want an opportunity, there’s tons of opportunity there, if you want to get in early.”

According to an informational pamphlet compiled by the Mozambican government, the company has 23 billion tonnes of coal reserve potential, more than 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and nearly 90 million acres of arable land for agriculture.

The country is aiming to be one of the world’s largest exporters of liquified natural gas and the government predicts that the country’s economy will grow by 7 percent a year, starting in 2022. Mozambique “will be one of the fastest growing economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa for years to come,” the pamphlet says.

Hecht helped make multiple introductions for the Mozambicans last week in the Powell area.

He thinks there will eventually be opportunities for his businesses, “but there may be things that occur that has nothing to do with us — but that’s good, too,” he said, adding, “If it works out good for everyone, we’re just happy.”

Hecht sees the Mozambicans as friends and included Muhimua — who’s a former Olympic basketball referee — in one of his granddaughter’s basketball games last week (see Page 9). Hecht was pleased with how the visit played out.

“They loved Wyoming as compared to D.C. or New York or LA,” he said. “It was kind of like, ‘Welcome to the real USA.’”

Going forward, Alves said he’ll keep in touch with PEP and Muhimua hopes that Wyoming and Mozambique can exchange business missions.

“We would like to see you guys coming to Mozambique, and we as well coming here, so we can see how we can match [up],” Muhimua said.

Hecht is certainly game, as he said they “didn’t even get done half of what we wanted to” during last week’s trip.

For instance, the plan was to get cowboy hats for the international guests and “we didn’t get it done,” Hecht said with a laugh. “So they’ve got to come back for their cowboy hats.”