TotalEnergies to restart its delayed Mozambique LNG project in early 2024 -sources

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – French energy firm TotalEnergies plans to restart its long-delayed $20 billion Mozambique liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the first quarter of next year, two sources told Reuters late on Friday.

Work on the project has been halted since 2021 when a violent insurgency led by Islamic State-linked militants threatened the Cabo Delgado site, leading to TotalEnergies declaring force majeure and halting construction.

In September, chief executive officer at TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanne, said the company planned to restart before the end of this year, as the security situation improved with the support a regional military force including Rwanda.

“TotalEnergies have indicated that they want to restart their Mozambique LNG project in January 2024,” a government source close to the process said, asking to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The ongoing violence in the northern Mozambican province has claimed thousands of lives since it broke out in 2017, disrupting multibillion-dollar investments including the $20 billion LNG project in which TotalEnergies has a 26.5% stake.

“TotalEnergies has asked funders to get approval for the restart of the Mozambique LNG project in the first quarter of 2024,” said a second funding source with direct knowledge of the project.

The project, which will help transform the economic fortunes of the impoverished southern African country, has faced criticism from environmental activists who last month urged funders to withdraw their financial support.

TotalEnergies did not immediately respond to an out-of-office request for comment.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Nick Zieminski)