Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi has announced that TotalEnergies may resume operations at its liquified natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique. Total suspended the Cabo Delgado LNG project in 2021 after insurgent violence in the region.
The French company own 26.5% of the $20Bn LNG operation. In 2021, it declared a force majeure on the project over safety concerns, meaning that it had to cease operations due to extraordinary circumstances. The liquefaction plant’s operations were then suspended with no parties taking responsibility for the LNG project.
A spokesperson from Total denied the company’s role in the restart, stating: “The restart is a decision of Mozambique LNG, not a decision of TotalEnergies. […] Given the context, the decision will have to be unanimous, and TotalEnergies’ position is that it is appropriate to take the time to have the expected assurances before considering a possible restart”.
The situation in Mozambique
Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné met with Nyusi in February to discuss the project’s resumption. Pouyanné said: “The lifting of force majeure and the resumption of activities at the Mozambique LNG project site require, in particular, the restoration of security in the region, the resumption of public services and the return to normal life for the people of the region.”
Following that meeting, Pouyanné stated that Total will await the opinion of human rights campaigner and Médecins Sans Frontières member Jean-Christophe Rufin before resuming activities. Total appointed Rufin to assess the humanitarian situation in Mozambique and the viability of a resumption in LNG activities.
This means that Total can continue their expansion in the region. In 2022, Total purchased BP’s retail and logistics operations in the country, taking the number of Total service stations in Mozambique to 83.
The recent Insurgent activities in the region of north Mozambique began in 2017 amid a wave of violence from the so-called Islamic State – Central Africa Province, across a number of central and southern African countries.
The port of Afungi, where TotalEnergies among others focus their LNG operations, came under attack in 2020. In 2021, security forces from the other members of the Southern African Development Community deployed into northern Mozambique as peacekeepers. Over 3,000 troops and advisers arrived in Mozambique from its neighbours to aid in the fight against the insurgents.