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TotalEnergies Investigated for Involuntary Manslaughter in Mozambique LNG Attack

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into supermajor TotalEnergies for possible involuntary manslaughter for failing to protect its subcontractors during a deadly attack in Mozambique close to a planned LNG project.

TotalEnergies holds a 26.5% stake in the Mozambique LNG project, which was put on hold in 2021 following Islamist militant attacks in towns close to the site. The project site is close to Palma in the Cabo Delgado province, where Islamic State-affiliated militants have been active for a few years. In the spring of 2021, Islamic State-affiliated militants raided Palma in attacks that left dozens of people killed.

The investigation of the French prosecutors was launched this weekend following a legal complaint filed last year by survivors of the attacks and families of the victims.

The plaintiffs claim TotalEnergies failed to provide fuel for helicopters to evacuate civilians in the area where the Jihadists were raging.

A spokesperson for TotalEnergies told French news agency AFP on Saturday that the energy major reiterates a previous statement and “firmly rejects the accusations.”

TotalEnergies’ teams in Mozambique provided emergency aid and helped evacuate 2,500 people from the LNG facility under construction, including civilians, staff, contractors, and subcontractors, the company’s spokesperson told AFP.

Last October, following the filing of the complaint against TotalEnergies for “manslaughter and a failure to assist people in danger” the company said that it “would like, first, to categorically reject these accusations and, second, to detail the emergency assistance provided by the Mozambique LNG teams and the resources they mobilized to evacuate more than 2,500 people (civilians, personnel, contractors and subcontractors) from the Afungi site where the Mozambique project is located.”  

TotalEnergies has expressed hopes it could restart work on the $20-billion Mozambique LNG project, pending improved security situation in the area that would allow the return of staff, contractors, and subcontractors.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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