French oil and gas major Total on Monday suspended operations at its US$20-billion Mozambique liquefied national gas plant, citing the deteriorating security situation in the north of the southern African country where the project is based.
The company said it was withdrawing all personnel from the LNG project located in Afungi district of Mozambique’s northern-most Cabo Delgado province, scene of heightened attacks by Islamic State-linked insurgents since March.
"Considering the evolution of the security situation in the north of the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, Total confirms the withdrawal of all Mozambique LNG project personnel from the Afungi site.
“This situation leads Total, as operator of Mozambique LNG project, to declare force majeure," said Total.
Force majeure is a provision that allows companies to suspend or end operations because of events that are beyond their control, such as wars or natural disasters.
Total is leading a consortium of international companies that are developing the gas plant, which was expected to start exporting by the end of 2024.
Dozens of people have been killed by the militants since March 24 and millions of dollars of property has been damaged.