Mozambique: more than 100 NGOs call on banks to stop their support for the giant TotalEnergies gas project

TotalEnergies is singled out again for its activities in Africa. A group of 124 NGOs wrote an open letter on Friday to 28 financial institutions, including European, Japanese and South African banks, urging them to “withdraw” from the French company’s giant gas project north of the Mozambique.

“As essential financial support for the project, you bear direct and significant responsibility for its serious impacts,” insists the group of NGOs, in reference to the commitment made in 2020 by the 28 financial institutions to provide “a total of $14.9 billion to the project.” The 124 NGOs, including the Human Rights League, Oil Change International and Greenpeace France, are calling on them to “stop contributing to these human rights violations and the climate crisis”.

The French banks Société Générale and Crédit Agricole, as well as the American bank JP Morgan, are among the 28 financial institutions arrested. “The humanitarian and security risks, as well as the complexity of operations in such a conflict zone” were underestimated, the organizations recall, adding that they had “direct and fatal consequences”.

Project suspended

The oil group, which was then called Total, suspended the project after an attack claimed by the Islamic State group in March 2021, which caused victims – the toll remains uncertain – among the local population and among TotalEnergies subcontractors. The CEO of the French group, Patrick Pouyanné, indicated in September 2023 that he hoped to relaunch it before the end of the year.

If “security has improved”, “this does not mean that the region is safe, nor that civilians feel safe”, point out the NGOs. “The takeover of Mozambique LNG is reckless and irresponsible if it involves continuing to operate in and fueling such an unstable context,” they say, adding that the project “threatens local ecosystems and the global climate” while not benefiting neither Mozambique nor local communities.

“When operating at full capacity, the Mozambique LNG project will produce between 3.3 and 4.5 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent over its life cycle, more than the combined annual greenhouse gas emissions of all 27 countries of the European Union”, they denounce, asking financial institutions to “take (their) responsibilities” and provide a response “before November 30”.

Contacted by AFP, the banks Société Générale and Crédit Agricole did not respond immediately, while the American JPMorgan declined to comment.

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