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The Islamic State organization claimed responsibility on Monday, March 29, for the attack carried out in the coastal region of Cabo Delgado, where Total is established to exploit a mega submarine gas field. Does this new jihadist offensive call into question a project likely to transform the fate of Mozambique? </p><div> <p>Contacted by <em>RFI,</em> Total dit «<em>trust the government of Mozambique to regain control of the area</em>". No question of giving up, but the message of the company is insistent: the government must absolutely take control of the security situation. The president of the country made a commitment to the boss of Total, Patrick Pouyanné, who came to meet him in January. For the moment, it is a complete failure according to the consultant Philippe Sébille-Lopez. According to him, the army is not up to the task and the Russian or South African private companies which follow one another on the spot "<em>are useless</em> ».</p><h2>Bringing peace to the region will take time</h2><p>Not months, but rather years. A delay that is worth the candle for Total, the operator of the project. The extension of LNG, of which it is already the second largest private operator in the world, is part of its strategy to reduce its carbon footprint. For Mozambique, this is an essential project. At the time of the discovery of the deposit, there was talk of a jackpot for this southern African country ranked among the poorest in the world by the World Bank.
It could become one of the very first exporters in the world of liquefied natural gas, in competition for example with Qatar.
Its geography, with its long coast open to the Indian Ocean, makes it an ideal supplier for Asia. The state expects annual revenue of $ 3 billion within ten years. Total has pledged to invest $ 20 billion in the project. And the American company Exxon for its part could invest 30 billion dollars. With the presence of the Italian ENI and other Asian companies, 60 billion will be injected. This makes it the biggest foreign investment on the African continent. That’s four times the annual GDP of a country where two in three people live below the poverty line.
But these promises are still a long way off: before cashing in, you must first spend to resolve the issue of security. A challenge for an over-indebted state. External aid appears essential. The United States says it is ready to assist the government in its fight against the Shebabs – for the moment, American assistance is reduced to a dozen special forces soldiers. There, for two months to train the Mozambican commandos.
The economic interests of the United States are also at stake in this project. Many American companies are in contract with Total. This represents more than 16,000 jobs on American soil. And it is in part an American bank that finances the French company. The Eximbank brings 5 billion dollars to the assembly.
Finally, the involvement of the administration will undoubtedly be decisive for the company Exxon, which has already postponed its final investment decision twice. Not only because of the jihadist attacks but also because of the Covid-19. The pandemic has brought down the gas market, making investments more difficult and less profitable.
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Source site www.rfi.fr