Maputo — The chairperson of the board of directors of the French oil and gas company Total, Mr Patrick Pouyanne, on Monday confirmed that the company remains committed to investing in the Mozambique liquefied natural gas project, in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
Mr Pouyanne gave this commitment to Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, who has been on a working visit to France since Sunday, at the invitation of his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron.
Speaking to Mozambican reporters accompanying President Nyusi, immediately after the meeting, Pouyanne promised that Total is strongly committed to resuming its Mozambican project.
Total heads a consortium that is building natural gas liquefaction plants on the Afungi Peninsula, in the Cabo Delgado district of Palma. The investment in the project, by Total and its partners, is estimated at 20 billion US dollars.
But Total suspended work on the project and withdrew all its staff, in the wake of the attack by islamist terrorists against the town of Palma on March 24. The social impact of the terrorist raid was devastating, in that it led over 30,000 people to abandon their homes in Palma town and the surrounding area, and to seek shelter in safe areas.
Asked about resuming the Mozambique LNG project, Mr Pouyanne said “Total is very committed to maintaining its project in Mozambique. There was this incident in Palma, which is a question of security. For security reasons, we have had to take difficult measures, but our commitment remains.
“We want security, particularly for our staff, and that’s why we had to withdraw our staff,” he added. But as soon as the security conditions in Cabo Delgado are restored, “we shall return.”
Mr Pouyanne declared that he has full confidence in the Mozambican government, which is working to restore security.
“Natural gas is in great demand throughout the world,” he said. “It’s an important source of energy, it’s a priority for the planet, and so we remain committed to the Afungi project.”
Other French business leaders who met with President Nyusi expressed similar confidence.
Mr Frederic Oudea, of the bank Societe Generale, said that, after speaking with the President, he was sure that the bank would maintain its presence in Mozambique, financing various projects, including the Total development of natural gas.Mr Arnaud Pieton of Technip Energies, which is building a floating natural gas platform that will be anchored off the Cabo Delgado coast, said he had received government guarantees of the efforts under way to restore security in Cabo Delgado, so that projects there can be developed with much greater speed. – AIM