By Francois De Beaupuy at Bloomberg
12 October 2020 – Total SE CEO Patrick Pouyanne called on European nations to help Mozambique fight an insurgency, backed by the Islamic State, in part of the country where the energy company is developing a natural gas project.
For more than a month, militants have occupied a town about 60km south of where a group led by Total plan to spend USD20- billion to extract gas from below the ocean and export it to European and Asian customers. The violence, including alleged human rights violations by security forces, is now creeping toward Total’s Mozambique Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in the far northeast of the company.
“Western powers are realising that a Daesh enclave is settling within Mozambique,” which is “a major problem” for the whole regions’ stability,” Pouyanne said during a recent press conference in France. “It would be good if the situation is brought back under control, not just for Total’s project, but for the stability of the region,” he added.
Pouyanne, who met Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi to discuss the situation last month, said he can help by bringing the attention of European nations to the issue. France has a vested interest in the region because it owns Mayotte, an island located between Mozambique and Madagascar, he said.
Earthworks at Mozambique LNG have progressed, and a landing strip as well as jetties for boats have been built, Pouyanne said. Mozambique LNG, the biggest private investment in Africa, is due to be completed in 2024. Total bought a 26.5% stake in the project for USD3.9-billion in 2019.
It is one of Total’s biggest projects to boost its production of LNG in the second part of the decade, alongside operations in the U.S., Russia, and Papua New Guinea.