Gas exploration in the sea off Mozambique will require taking preventative measures against new risks such as piracy and pollution, Franck Reignier, Brigadier General of the French Armed Forces of the Southern Ocean Zone of the Indian Ocean, told Lusa on Friday during a visit to Maputo.
“The new projects may bring new threats,” he said, citing piracy and the risk of environmental pollution in a broad call for awareness.
His warning comes five years before the beginning of offshore gas extraction in the Rovuma Basin, northern Mozambique, about 500 kilometres from Mayotte, an archipelago that is one of France most distant territories.
Currently, the security situation is calm in the Mozambique Channel between the Mozambican coast and Madagascar, which includes the independent archipelago of the Comoros and Mayotte, is calm.
Problems are more notable to the north, such as drug trafficking around the Seychelles, Reignier noted.
Still, “We must prevent, and be prepared,” he said, giving new impetus to cooperation between the Mozambique and France militaries.
The French Armed Forces of the Southern Ocean Zone of the Indian Ocean (FAZSOI) includes navy units stationed in Réunion (east of Madagascar) and Mayotte, two overseas French departments.
French naval vessels routinely make stopovers in Maputo and the deepwater port of Nacala, in the north of the country, offering training and exchanging information and experience with the Mozambican navy.
Military cooperation between the French Republic and Mozambique has been ongoing since 2004 and is focused on supporting the Mozambican navy, training in joint peacekeeping operations and participating in exercises with the various FAZSOI branches.
Franck Reignier, accompanied by the Admiral Patrick Augier, French Deputy Secretary General for the Sea, was participating yesterday in a seminar on “The Law of the Sea and State Action” at the School of Nautical Sciences.
The seminar, which continues today (Friday), is part of the program called “Our Sea”, which has been promoting activities related to maritime issues with the assistance of the Camões Institute for Cooperation and Language since the beginning of the month.
President Nyusi expects decisions on Anadarko gas project by the end of the year
President Filipe Nyusi said yesterday that he hopes that US oil company Anadarko decisions on starting natural gas exploration projects in the north of the country will be made by the end of the year.
The head of state, quoted by the Mozambican Information Agency, was speaking at the end of a meeting in Washington with the president of the firm, Al Walker.
The relative delay in Anadarko’s investment, President Nyusi said, has to do with the fact that it involves many stakeholders and that the interests of all parties involved need to be safeguarded.
“We, the government, are not at ease when things do not happen. We prefer them to happen quickly, but cautiously,” and to avoid the mistakes of the past, he said.
In this case, he pointed out the need to take care of issues such as resettlement of people in the area covered by the project and construction of infrastructures.
Anadarko CEO Al Walker told reporters that there were legal issues to be resolved, while expressing optimism that this would happen soon.
Nyusi rated the consensus reached at this and other meetings held in the United States over a three-day official visit that ended yesterday as an important step for the country, and said that details would be presented to the Council of Ministers [cabinet] for discussion.
Another consortium, led by Italy’s Eni, announced earlier this month the start of the development phase of the Coral Sul project to produce liquid natural gas (LNG) in the Rovuma Basin, northern Mozambique, foreseeing the commencement of operations in 2022.
Anadarko is also preparing to invest in the area. The two projects will explore natural gas reservoirs that are among the largest in the world with the potential to create millions of dollars in revenue for Mozambique.
President Nyusi travelled from Washington to Havana for an official visit to Cuba scheduled to ends on Sunday.
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