TotalEnergies appoints human rights expert to assess humanitarian situation for Mozambique LNG restart

Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, has visited the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique, where the Mozambique LNG project is located, to review the security and humanitarian situation.

Archive; Courtesy of TotalEnergies

On 2 February, TotalEnergies informed that Pouyanné visited the Afungi industrial site, the resettlement village of Quitunda, the towns of Palma and Mocimboa da Praia and met with President Filipe Nyusi to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado province.

During this visit, Patrick Pouyanné said he appointed Jean-Christophe Rufin, an expert in humanitarian action and human rights, with an independent mission to assess the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado province.

According to the French energy major, this mission will also evaluate the actions taken by Mozambique LNG and will propose any additional actions to be implemented, if required.

The report of this mission is expected to be delivered at the end of February and its conclusions will be shared with all Mozambique LNG’s partners, who shall decide whether the conditions are met for resuming project activities.

To remind, on 26 April 26 2021, considering the evolution of the security situation in the north of Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique LNG decided to withdraw all project personnel from the Afungi site. This situation also led the Mozambique LNG project partners to declare force majeure.

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“Since 2021, the situation in Cabo Delgado province has improved significantly, thanks in particular to the support provided by the African countries that committed themselves to restore peace and security”, said Patrick Pouyanné.

“The lifting of the force majeure and the resumption of activities at the Mozambique LNG project site require, in particular the restoration of security in the region, the resumption of public services and the return to normal life for the people of the region. The mission entrusted to Jean-Christophe Rufin should enable Mozambique LNG’s partners to assess whether the current situation allows for a resumption of activities while respecting human rights.”

Mozambique LNG is the first onshore development of an LNG plant in the country. The project includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum fields located in Offshore Area 1 and the construction of two liquefaction trains with a total capacity of 13,1 million tons per annum (mtpa).

The project is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion. On 6 December 2022, the environmentalist group Friends of the Earth asked the Court of Appeal in London to examine the UK government’s decision to fund the Mozambique LNG project through its export credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF),  after its judicial review ended up in a legal deadlock in December 2021, when two High Court judges disagreed on the verdict.

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The group argued that financing for the project was permitted after it was incorrectly judged to be compatible with the Paris Agreement and its goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

However, on 13 January 2023, the London court ruled that the UK government’s funding is lawful, dismissing Friends of the Earth’s appeal.

The environmentalists warned that the total emissions for the new gas field, which their research found would total some 4.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) over its lifetime – more than the combined annual emissions of all 27 EU countries, were not calculated as part of the government’s approval process or evaluated against global climate goals.

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