Total declares force majeure on Mozambique LNG after insurgent attacks

April 27, 2021

French energy group Total (TOTF.PA) declared force majeure on its $20 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique and confirmed it had withdrawn all staff from the construction site following insurgent attacks last month.

Dozens of civilians were killed in the Islamic State-linked attacks in the coastal Mozambique town of Palma, near gas projects that are worth $60 billion and are aimed at transforming the East African nation’s economy. read more

The violence in March has dealt a blow to plans by Total and rival Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), which also has an LNG project in Mozambique, to turn the country into a major LNG producer to rival Australia, Qatar, Russia and the United States.

It also comes as major energy companies reassess their approach to LNG, once seen as a fuel of the future because it has lower emissions than coal or oil but now under scrutiny in the drive to cut carbon emissions even more deeply.

“Considering the evolution of the security situation … Total confirms the withdrawal of all Mozambique LNG project personnel from the Afungi site. This situation leads Total, as operator of Mozambique LNG project, to declare force majeure,” the company said on Monday.

Total, which aimed to produce its first cargo from the project in 2024, suspended work on March 27 after the militant attack.

Declaring force majeure implies a weightier suspension and allows Total to cancel contractors.