French supermajor Total has declared Force Majeure on its Mozambique-led LNG plant and withdrawn all of its staff from conflict zone areas close to the construction site.
This follows the killing of dozens of people in the town of Palma in March in the northeastern part of the east African country which is a focal point for three major LNG projects worth US$60 billion.
Total said of the latest decision: “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.”
Total had targeted 2023 for first gas from the project, but work was suspended on March 27 this year after the attacks on Palma, a logistics hub for the gas plant, by Islamist fighters known as Ahlu-Sunnah Wa-Jama.
The latest development is a major setback for Mozambique, which has three LNG plants under construction and is aspiring to emerge as one of the world’s biggest LNG exporters from an ideal geographical location and off a low-cost resource base.
The paralysis of the 12.9 Mtpa Mozambique LNG Project leaves only the ENI-led Coral South FLNG (3.4 Mtpa) project on track for first gas in 2023. Construction of Rovuma LNG, a 15.2 Mtpa project, involving ExxonMobil, Eni and CNPC, has also been suspended due to the conflict.