NGOs ask banks to pull out of TotalEnergies' gas project in Mozambique
A group of 124 NGOs posted an open letter on Friday to dozens of financial institutions, including European, Japanese and South African banks, urging them to withdraw from TotalEnergies' giant gas project in Mozambique.
PARIS - A group of 124 NGOs posted an open letter on Friday to dozens of financial institutions, including European, Japanese and South African banks, urging them to withdraw from TotalEnergies' giant gas project in Mozambique.
The NGOs - which include the Human Rights League, Oil Change International and Greenpeace France - have told the 28 financial institutions that as they give "essential financial support" for the project, they bear "direct and significant responsibility" for its impact.
The banks should "stop contributing to these human rights violations and the climate crisis", say the NGOs.
The letter is addressed to financial institutions which include French banks Societe Generale and Credit Agricole and American bank JP Morgan.
TotalEnergies - then called Total - suspended the multi-billion-dollar project in March 2021, after a bloody jihadist attack near the major gas field in northern Mozambique.
Islamic State-linked militants killed dozens of people when they attacked the Mozambican port town of Palma in an attack that lasted several days, sending thousands of people fleeing into the surrounding forest.
But CEO of the French group Patrick Pouyanne suggested in September 2023 that he hoped to relaunch the project before the end of the year.
"The humanitarian and security risks, as well as the complexity of operations in a conflict zone" were underestimated, the NGOs say in the letter.
They write that the project is "reckless and irresponsible if it involves continuing to operate in and fuel such an unstable context".
The project threatens local ecosystems and the global climate, while failing to benefit local communities, they claim.
When it is at full operating capacity, the Mozambique project will produce "between 3.3 and 4.5 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent over its life cycle, more than the combined annual greenhouse gas emissions of all 27 countries of the European Union", say the NGOs.
Societe Generale and Credit Agricole did not immediately respond when contacted by AFP, while JP Morgan declined to comment.
Mozambique has set high hopes on vast natural gas deposits - the largest found south of the Sahara - that were discovered in the Muslim-majority northern province in 2010.
But the region has been hit by an insurgency waged by militants linked to the Islamic State group, casting doubt over the scheme.