Flash: ECA financed Mozambique LNG sector braces for delays amid escalating violence

(Global Trade Review, London, 31 March 2021) French energy major Total has been forced to suspend operations at its liquified natural gas (LNG) project in northern Mozambique for the second time this year, after a fresh attack by insurgents which killed dozens of local and foreign citizens, with as many as 60 still missing. The Financial Times reports the ongoing risk of violence has led Total to reduce its workforce on the LNG project at the nearby Afungi site “to a strict minimum”. The suspension marks yet another setback for Total’s project, which had only recently started to resume operations following a decision to evacuate workers from the site in January due to heightened security risks. Such delays throw into doubt the slated 2024 production date of the project, and come less than a year after the company signed a bumper financing package worth nearly US$15bn with a cluster of commercial banks, export credit agencies (ECAs) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). ECA Watch member Friends of the Earth International reported in our June 2020 issue on how transnational corporate gas extraction in Mozambique was fuelling human rights abuses, poverty, corruption, violence and social injustice. In our June 2020 What's New we also noted UKEF's intent to commit some US$1 billion to the project. Bloomberg has reported on two additional LNG projects: the $4.7 billion Coral FLNG Project by ENI and ExxonMobil, and the $30 billion Rovuma LNG Project by ExxonMobil, ENI, and the China National Petroleum Corporation. A spokesperson for the Japanese ECA, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, tells GTR that it is “closely monitoring” the security situation in Mozambique, in cooperation with the stakeholders of the project, including the operator, the sponsors and an external security consultant.