Mozambique: NGO predicts speedier resumption of gas projects

Atualizado: 23 de set.

FILE - For illustration purposes only. [File photo: DW]

The Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), a Mozambican non-governmental organisation (NGO), said on Wednesday that the gas crisis could mean that oil major TotalEnergies accelerates the resumption its natural gas liquefaction projects in Cabo Delgado.

Valued at €20 billion, this is the largest private investment in Africa, and has been on hold for a year and a half because of the armed insurgency in the region.

At a moment of rising prices, “TotalEnergies may reconsider its initial position” of only resuming work with “the normalisation of life”, even with some outbreaks of armed violence in the province, the CIP says.

The CIP estimates that, in the current context of the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, gas prices supporting this investment have soared by 325%.

“At least in the first years of production, they [gas prices] will be much higher than initial forecasts”, and the oil consortium may obtain “extraordinary profits”, even if it has extra security expenses.

“TotalEnergies’ rapid return is foreseeable, even considering that in the best case scenario the gas will only reach the market in 2027/28 if the works restart in the first half of 2023, and also assuming that the project will not suffer any delay related to insecurity, which is still ongoing,” the CIP adds.

The scenario could be a boon to Mozambique’s state coffers, but the CIP warns of risks.

“Terrorism in Cabo Delgado is, above all, a crisis of protection, with civilians, especially women and children, exposed to serious human rights violations,” it highlights.

In this sense, the CIP considers it crucial that “the Government does not fall into the temptation of only protecting the interests of TotalEnergies” in Cabo Delgado.

The NGO says it is important that the state “focus on creating conditions for effective peace and generalized security in the entire northern region”.

Cabo Delgado province has since 2017 been beset by armed violence, with some attacks claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.

TotalEnergies said it would decide on the resumption of construction of the gas liquefaction plant and the surrounding industrial complex by the end of this year, after reassessing safety in the region.

A year ago, an offensive by Mozambican government troops, with the support of Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), recovered areas near the gas projects from rebel control, but attacks continue in other areas of the province and in part of neighbouring Nampula.

The conflict has already cost more than 4,000 lives, according to the ACLED conflict register, and displaced more than 817,000 civilians (Mozambican authorities figure).

Source: Lusa

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