“Total’s commitment will be to assume its responsibilities”, the Mozambican Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, told news agency Lusa today.
The Minister explained that the French oil giant assured the Mozambican executive that it has several teams working on the assessment of the contractual terms with each individual company involved in the construction of the natural gas project on the Afungi peninsula, in northern Mozambique, up until the project’s suspension under force majeure, on March 24, following armed attacks on the district of Palma.
“Given that there are hundreds of contracts, between large and small, it is a process that will take some time to determine”, he declared.
Max Tonela noted that there are companies involved in the Afungi project whose situation will be easier to assess, in terms of their rights, because they had not yet started the activity, but informed that there are others in a more complex situation, as they were involved in civil construction, production and supply of goods and equipment.
“I want to believe that part of the complaints [from Mozambican companies] come from contracts signed not directly with Total, but with several subcontractors,” he emphasized.
Max Tonela admitted that the assumption of charges by Total in relation to companies directly involved in the natural gas production project will have a “ripple effect”, resulting in the payment of commitments taken up with subcontractors.
On the 16th, the Confederation of Economic Associations of Mozambique (CTA), the main employers’ association in the country, defended that problems between the oil company TotalEnergies and the Mozambican companies should be resolved in local arbitration to avoid a “legal war”.
At issue is the suspension of the Cabo Delgado gas project, which was the largest private investment underway in Africa, and the resulting losses for local companies supplying goods and services, with investments made, goods purchased and loans taken out with the banking sector.
Of a total of 45 Mozambican companies affected, 28 responded to a CTA survey and, among them, a reported debt of US$18M and another US$43.6M of “imported or purchased goods, which are in storage and/or others that were ordered and/or produced”.
According to CTA, TotalEnergies has not yet commented on these figures.