TotalEnergies will not restart work on its $20 billion Mozambique LNG project until the civil population comes back to the Cabo Delgado province where the Afungi site is located, according to chief executive Patrick Pouyanne.
To remind, TotalEnergies declared force majeure on the giant LNG project in April last year following new attacks, and withdrew all personnel from the site.
After that, the firm said the project would be delayed for a least one year.
Pouyanne recently visited Mozambique and met with the country’s President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi to discuss the security situation in the area where the LNG plant is located and the restart of works.
“We will not build a plant in a country surrounded by soldiers”
The CEO told analysts during the company’s quarterly results call on Thursday that, “there have been some clear improvements on the ground.”
Pouyanne said that Mozambique in partnership with SADC managed to get back the security in some key areas around Palma, where the project is located, but they “do not control today Cabo Delgado” in full.
He said that TotalEnergies would only restart the project once they take back the control of the security but also once the civil population comes back in the villages and with “a normal life.”
“That will be the signal. We will not build a plant in a country where we’ll be surrounded by soldiers. It does not work like that,” he said.
“No pressure to exit out of force majeure”
Pouyanne said he has “no idea” when the company could start working on the project again.
“Maybe it will take a year, I don’t know. We’ll see, we observe,” he said.
“There is no pressure for us to exit out of force majeure. We know that when we will say, yes, we can come back, it will take 6 months really to start up again,” he said.
“But again, my priority, it’s a matter of sustainability of that and human rights. And so we’ll not relaunch the project as long as I see photos from refugee camps around the site,” he said.
TotalEnergies had previously planned to launch the project in 2024. Mozambique LNG includes the development of offshore gas fields in Mozambique’s Area 1 and a 12.8 mtpa liquefaction plant at the Afungi complex.
The project will also have a fleet of dedicated LNG carriers.
Besides TotalEnergies, other partners in the project are Japan’s Mitsui, Mozambique’s ENH, Thailand’s PTT, and Indian firms ONGC, Bharat Petroleum, and Oil India.
The project’s EPC contractor is CCS JV, a venture between Saipem, McDermott, and Chiyoda.