'No surpise' as Total suspends work on $20bn Mozambique LNG plant, says Opperman
The company issued a statement on Monday declaring a "force majeure" following insurgent attacks last month.
Force majeure is a legal provision that allows parties to suspend or end contracts because of events that are beyond their control, such as wars or natural disasters.
Total confirmed that it has withdrawn all its staff from a nearby natural gas site after Islamic State-linked militants raided the town of Palma in Mozambique's northern Cabo Delgado province in March.
"Considering the evolution of the security situation... Total confirms the withdrawal of all Mozambique LNG project personnel from the Afungi site," the company said in a statement.
The gas-rich Cabo Delgado region has been facing a bloody jihadist insurgency for several years.
Security expert Jasmine Opperman says Total's force majeure declaration is no surprise.
Opperman says Total's move to employ workers and skilled labourers from outside the province may have worsened tensions in the region.
This came as no surprise... With any big and significant contract, force majeure is always a clause... A last resort where the company holds the right to completely withdraw when a situation threatens the company's functions and operations.Jasmine Opperman, Africa analyst - Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project
Total has called force majeure, therefore negating any responsibility in terms of the site as well as contracts with supply companies.Jasmine Opperman, Africa analyst - Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project
We sit with communities mistrusting any foreign element on Cabo Delgado soil.Jasmine Opperman, Africa analyst - Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project
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