Mozambique, Total ink security deal protect LNG project

Cabo Delgado has been the scene of a jihadist insurgency since 2017 that has killed more than 1,500 people and displaced 250,000 others.

FILE: Picture: AFP

MAPUTO - French energy giant Total on Monday said it had signed a security agreement with Mozambique to protect a major gas project in a restive northern province.

The new memorandum of understanding allows for a so-called Joint Task Force to "ensure the security" of Mozambique's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project activities across Total's area of operation in Cabo Delgado province.

Cabo Delgado has been the scene of a jihadist insurgency since 2017 that has killed more than 1,500 people and displaced 250,000 others.

The insurgency has complicated a huge investment project to develop offshore gas reserves, and Mozambican troops along with private security companies have so far struggled to resolve the unrest.

Last month, Total secured a $14.9 billion financing agreement for the $23 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project slated to come on stream by 2024.

"The memorandum demonstrates the project’s commitment to meeting its milestones in a secure manner," a Total statement said.

Mozambique Mineral Resources Minister Ernesto Tonela confirmed his government's support saying the agreement "bolsters security measures and endeavors to create a safe operating environment for partners like Total".

Early this month, militants seized control of Mocimboa da Praia, a strategic port for the project's development.

Mocimboa da Praia lies 60 kilometres south of the LNG facility - one of Africa's biggest single investment projects - on the Afungi peninsula.

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