Since April 2021, TotalEnergies’ gas exploitation project in Mozambique has been on hold due to force majeure. The energy giant now hopes to restart the project by the end of the year, but it faces pressure from over 120 NGOs urging financial institutions to withdraw their support.
In a letter addressed to 28 banks and credit agencies, more than 120 civil society organizations implore them to “urgently withdraw from TotalEnergies Mozambique LNG project.” The organizations assert, “As crucial financial backers of the project, you bear direct and significant responsibility for its serious impacts.”
The Mozambique LNG project aims to produce over 13 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually at a total cost of $20 billion. In 2020, the French company announced it had secured external financing agreements totaling nearly $15 billion. However, in March 2021, Islamist rebels from Al-Shabab seized the town of Palma near TotalEnergies’ site.
The ensuing days of fighting resulted in numerous casualties, compelling the French company to halt its operations. In October, a criminal complaint was filed against TotalEnergies for “involuntary manslaughter and failure to assist a person in danger.” The company strongly denies these allegations, emphasizing the “emergency assistance” provided by the Mozambique LNG teams.
Months later, authorities claimed to have regained control of the area. Since then, both the company and Maputo have initiated various efforts to ensure the project’s resumption. The NGOs’ concerted pressure on financial backers underscores the contentious nature of the project, caught between economic interests and concerns over environmental and humanitarian impacts. As TotalEnergies aims for a projected revival, it navigates the complex terrain of addressing security issues, legal challenges, and stakeholder concerns.