Mozambique makes gains against militants disrupting TotalEnergies’ LNG project

Borges Nhamire 12/16/2021

Mozambique has made gains against Islamic State-linked insurgents who disrupted the southeast African nation’s multibillion gas project, according to President Filipe Nyusi.

All insurgents’ bases have been deactivated this year, which should allow people in affected regions to return to their homes, Nyusi said in a state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

The insurgency, which started in the northeastern Cabo Delgado province in 2017 and has since spread westward into the neighboring Niassa province, has caused more than 3,500 deaths and prompted at least 800,000 people to flee their homes.

TotalEnergies SE evacuated its $20 billion project to exploit natural gas off the coast for export after a March attack on a nearby town.

Rwandan soldiers and forces from the 16-member Southern African Development Community bloc are helping to fight the militants, driving them from large towns. They continue to mount smaller-scale attacks, though.

“We are currently witnessing increasing stability despite outbreaks of attacks in Niassa,” Nyusi said. This year, the number of attacks in Cabo Delgado were reduced by three times, 245 militants were captured and leaders, including third-ranked Rajab Fakir, were killed, he said.

TotalEnergies has already delayed first production of its LNG project by two years to 2026 and that may be pushed back even further if the company isn’t able to resume work early next year, according to Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné. ExxonMobil Corp., which plans an even bigger project next door, has put off an investment decision for years, and wants Nyusi’s government to do more to ensure security in Cabo Delgado.

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