French multinational integrated oil and gas company, Total, has signed a security pact with the Mozambique government to protect a $20 billion natural gas (LNG) project being developed in the southern African country.
Total, in a statement on Monday, said the “new Memorandum of Understanding provides that a Joint Task Force shall ensure the security of Mozambique LNG project activities in Afungi site and across the broader area of operations of the project. “
Adding that Mozambique LNG shall provide logistic support to the Joint Task Force. The Government of Mozambique is committed that the Joint Task Force personnel shall act according to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
Mozambican security forces have been battling a low-level insurgency against militias suspected of having links to Islamic State in the gas-rich north of the country.
Violence in the northern Cabo Delgado region has recently claimed dozens of lives. Earlier this month insurgents captured a heavily-defended port in the far northern town of Mocimboa da Praia.
Total’s project includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum natural gas fields in the Offshore Area 1 concession, containing more than 60 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas, and the construction of a liquefaction plant with a capacity of 13.1 million tons per annum.
The statement read:
Total E&P Mozambique Area 1, operator of the Mozambique LNG project, announces that it has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Mozambique regarding the security of Mozambique LNG project activities.
This new Memorandum of Understanding provides that a Joint Task Force shall ensure the security of Mozambique LNG project activities in Afungi site and across the broader area of operations of the project. Mozambique LNG shall provide logistic support to the Joint Task Force. The Government of Mozambique is committed that the Joint Task Force personnel shall act according to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR).
The memorandum demonstrates the project’s commitment to meeting its milestones in a secure manner, while creating local opportunities and bringing meaningful social and economic benefits for the province of Cabo Delgado and the country.
His Excellency the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Ernesto Max Elias Tonela, said: “We are proud to continue working with the Mozambique LNG project to ensure the country benefits from its presence. This Memorandum of Understanding bolsters security measures and endeavours to create a safe operating environment for partners like Total which enables their ongoing investment in Mozambican industry, for small and medium enterprise and for our communities.”
Ronan Bescond, Country Chair of Total in Mozambique, said: “In recognition of the benefits the Mozambique LNG project will bring to local communities, the country, and all parties involved in the project, Total and the Government of Mozambique are committed to enabling steady progress towards a successful delivery of the project. In view of the security situation in the Province of Cabo Delgado, our priority is to ensure the security of our workforce, many of whom reside in the neighbouring communities, and of the project operations. On behalf of our Area 1 partners, we appreciate the support provided by the Government of Mozambique for the secure delivery of the project.”
Total E&P Mozambique Area 1 Limitada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Total, operates Mozambique LNG with a 26.5% participating interest alongside ENH Rovuma Área Um, S.A. (15%), Mitsui E&P Mozambique Area1 Limited (20%), ONGC Videsh Rovuma Limited (10%), Beas Rovuma Energy Mozambique Limited (10%), BPRL Ventures Mozambique B.V. (10%), and PTTEP Mozambique Area 1 Limited (8.5%).
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