Work on Mozambique LNG may resume in the first half of 2023, a project partner has said, but the northern insurgency continues.
Bharat Petroleum head Arun Kumar Singh told shareholders this week that progress was being made in improving the security situation around the Mozambique LNG site.
The TotalEnergies-operated project is in the northern Cabo Delgado Province. The French company suspended work under a force majeure declaration in April 2021, following terrorist attacks.
“The project will resume once the security situation is stabilised in a sustainable manner,” the Bharat official said. The company hopes this will take place in the first half of next year, he continued.
Total in its July results presentation did not set out plans for the project, beyond noting that Mozambique LNG remained under force majeure. The company had initially set the goal of reaching first LNG exports in 2024.
Saipem, which is involved in the construction of the LNG plant, has also pushed back its expectation of when work would begin until 2023. Initially, the company had said it expected work to resume in the second half of 2022.
Military forces from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are active in Cabo Delgado in an attempt to quell the insurgency.
A SADC meeting in mid-August approved an extension to the mission. Nine SADC personnel have died during the anti-insurgency operations.
Mozambique watcher Joseph Hanlon has reported attacks have continued in July and August in Palma and Mocimboa da Praia. These areas fall within the area where the onshore LNG site will be located.
Hanlon went on to note that attacks on Mozambique’s forces have become a major source of arms for the insurgents. An attack near Mocimboa da Praia in mid-August, for instance, involved the use of mortars taken from government forces.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that 1.5 million people in northern Mozambique require assistance. OCHA identified the areas hit hardest by conflict as Macomia, Mocimboa da Praia, Palma and Quissanga.
The UK advises against all travel to much of Cabo Delgado. “There is an increased security presence in the province, including road blocks, and there are regular clashes between militants, armed vigilante groups and Mozambican security forces,” the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) said.