TotalEnergies is “not in a hurry” to restart work on its giant $20 billion Mozambique LNG project, according to chief executive Patrick Pouyanne.
The French energy giant declared force majeure on the LNG project in April 2021 and withdrew all personnel from the site due to new attacks.
In February last year, Pouyanne said the company would not restart work on the LNG project until the civil population comes back to Cabo Delgado province where the Afungi site is located.
The CEO visited the province last week and entrusted Jean-Christophe Rufin, an expert in humanitarian action and human rights, with an independent mission to assess the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado province.
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.
Pouyanne discussed his visit to Mozambique during the company’s fourth-quarter results conference call on Wednesday.
“I can tell you what I’ve seen from a security point of view is good. Even life is back to normal. Villages, people are back,” he told analysts during the call.
However, this is one step and there are more steps to be done, Pouyanne said.
The two next steps include human rights and to maintain the costs, according to the CEO.
Pouyanne will now wait for the report regarding human rights from Rufin to “understand exactly what are these issues.”
“If there are things to be done, we’ll execute the recommendation. We’ll be transparent on it. We will share obviously with our partners because it’s a Mozambique LNG decision to restart. It’s not a TotalEnergies decision,” he said.
Pouyanne also said that there is a third step which would also play a role in resuming construction.
“We have to reengage with the contractors. And one key condition to restart will be to maintain the costs that we had,” he said.
“If I see the costs going up and up, we’ll wait. We have waited and we can continue to wait. And the contractors will wait as well,” Pouyanne said.
“So I’m not in a hurry to restart.. Human rights, I need the report. Costs, we will need another report from my teams,” he said.
“Again, I can wait on Mozambique LNG. If costs increase, we will wait, and we’ll take the time. So that’s where we are on these projects. So my message is positive, but it will take time,” Pouyanne said.