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Mozambique Says Total’s LNG Project Is Safe From Militants

A US$20-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project led by France’s Total in Mozambique is beyond the reach of Islamic state-aligned insurgents who started last week a coordinated attack near the area of the project, a spokesman for the Mozambique army said on Thursday.

“It is protected... at no time was its integrity at stake,” Mozambique army spokesman Chongo Vidigal told Radio Mozambique, as carried by Reuters.

The Total-led Mozambique LNG Project, for which the US$20-billion Final Investment Decision (FDI) was taken in 2019, is on track to deliver LNG in 2024, Total says.

The project site is close to the town of Palma in the Cabo Delgado province, where Islamic State-affiliated militants have been active for a few years now.   

Total signed a pact in August last year with the government of Mozambique to bolster security for its LNG project.

Last week, Total said the Mozambique LNG Project would progressively resume construction activities at the site, following the implementation of additional site security measures.

“The Government of Mozambique has declared the area within a 25 km perimeter surrounding the Mozambique LNG Project as a special security area,” Total said on March 24.

That statement came hours before militants raided the town of Palma, which has left dozens of people killed since March 24.

Following the renewed attacks, Total said on Saturday that it had postponed the restart of the construction activities at the LNG project site. None of the staff of the project were among the victims, Total said on March 27.

This is not the first time that the militants have attacked towns close to the project site.

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At the beginning of 2021, following another attack in December 2020, Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi held talks with his counterpart in neighboring Tanzania to prepare a wider regional response to violence from Islamic State-aligned insurgents that threaten the progress of major LNG projects in Mozambique. In January 2021, Total said it had “temporarily reduced its workforce on site in response to the prevailing environment,” referring to the attacks from the terrorists.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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