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Petrolera Total leaves Mozambique after jihadist attacks

“Total confirms the withdrawal of all its personnel from the Mozambique LNG project in (the) Afungi peninsula. This situation leads Total, as the operator of the Mozambique LNG project, to declare force majeure,” the company said in a statement on Monday. (04.26.2021). The French oil group thus confirmed the suspension of its gigantic gas project in northeastern Mozambique, interrupted after a jihadist attack in early April.

The declaration of “force majeure” is adduced when exceptional conditions prevent the continuation of a work and the execution of related contracts. The company expressed its solidarity with the local government and population and hoped that the action taken by the country’s authorities and its regional and international partners will allow the restoration of lasting stability in the province of Cabo Delgado.

Mozambique’s main business organization announced on April 21 the suspension of contracts signed by the French oil giant with at least two construction companies. Total halted this project in early April after armed groups attacked the nearby port city of Palma on March 24, killing dozens of people.

Attack in Palma after announcement of the reactivation of the works

The siege on the city took place shortly after Total and the government of Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced that they would “soon” resume construction activities on the project in Afungi “with the implementation of additional security measures.” On March 27, however, the company announced the suspension of the reactivation of that project and reduced its workforce in the area to a minimum, from which it has now confirmed a complete withdrawal.

The attack was claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS). The Mozambique LNG project, led by Total within a consortium, represents a total investment of 20,000 million euros (24,000 million dollars). The jihadist organization Al Shabab, unrelated to the Somalia group of the same name, has been terrorizing northern Mozambique since 2017, causing thousands of deaths and nearly 700,000 displaced citizens to date.

The Mozambique LNG project to build a natural gas liquefaction plant with a capacity of 13.1 million tons per year in that African country had obtained funding of 14.9 billion dollars, as announced by Total last July. The financing agreement, the largest for a project of this type in Africa, according to the company, was closed with loans signed by eight export credit agencies, 19 commercial banks and the African Development Bank.

lgc (afp / efe)

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