Vocational training for 390 young Mozambicans from Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique is currently in the works. TotalEnergies signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November with the Industrial and Commercial Institute of Pemba (IICP). In it, they allocated an initial $250,000 in training for the oil and gas processing, mechanics, industrial electricity, and hospitality fields.
TotalEnergies is investing in these young people through the Mozambique LNG Project’s CapacitaMoz initiative. Its goal is to provide capacity building for Mozambicans. TotalEnergies leads the LNG project in the Afungi region with a 26.5% stake. The project is currently on standby due to ongoing violence in the Cabo Delgado region.
Works on the site were indeed interrupted and the company's teams evacuated, but TotalEnergies has resisted pulling the plug on the project. Instead, the company has continued contributing to local populations and businesses in other ways. The director for the Mozambique LNG Project, Stéphane Le-Galles, explains: “Despite the fact that we remain in force majeure and therefore with our operations suspended, we remain committed to the development of the country and Cabo Delgado in particular. Investment in local content is part of that objective and a strong commitment by Mozambique LNG project, operated by TotalEnergies”.
The Afungi project is not TotalEnergies’ first venture in Mozambique, but it is its largest. The French company has been in the country since 1991 and has a nationwide network of gas stations, activities in logistics and lubricants as well as industrial and exploration customers.
When TotalEnergies bought the 26.5% stake in the Mozambique LNG project from Anadarko in 2019, it became the leader of Africa’s most promising gas project. The Afungi site is home to reserves of about 65 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas. The project aims to extract up to 43 million tons per year. Profits could reach almost US$61 billion over 25 years.
And half of those revenues would go to Mozambique. Approximately 60% of the population lives below the international poverty line and 80% cannot afford a balanced diet. Many hoped that gas revenues would lift the country out of poverty. But, a violent insurgency has put those hopes on hold.
“A lasting peace”
In March 2021, violent insurgents attacked and invaded Palma, a town where many workers at the Afungi site lived. TotalEnergies announced force majeure and evacuated its employees. Operations are still halted as the company waits for the security situation to stabilize.
Troops from Rwanda and The Southern African Mission to Mozambique (SAMIM) have made major progress in containing the violence. Particularly, they have managed to secure the strategic towns of Palma and Mocimboa da Praia. Sporadic attacks still occur and only about 130,000 of the internally displaced persons have returned home.