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Total and Mozambique sign security pact for $20 billion natural gas project

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Total is pictured at the company's headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison near Paris, France, April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

MAPUTO (Reuters) - French oil major Total TOTF.PA has signed a security pact with the Mozambique government to protect a $20 billion natural gas (LNG) project being developed in the southern African country, the company said on Monday.

Mozambican security forces have been battling a low-level insurgency against militias suspected of having links to Islamic State in the gas-rich north of the country.

Violence in the northern Cabo Delgado region has recently claimed dozens of lives. Earlier this month insurgents captured a heavily-defended port in the far northern town of Mocimboa da Praia.

Total’s project includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum natural gas fields in the Offshore Area 1 concession, containing more than 60 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas, and the construction of a liquefaction plant with a capacity of 13.1 million tons per annum.

Initial production is slated by 2024.

“This ... bolsters security measures and endeavours to create a safe operating environment for partners like Total which enables their ongoing investment in Mozambican industry,” Ernesto Elias Tonela, minister of mineral resources and energy, said in the statement.

Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Writing by Wendell Roelf; Editing by David Holmes

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