NATURAL gas from Cabo Delgado is among the alternatives in Europe’s plan to diversify energy sources in the face of the constraints caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, an official has said.
“Mozambique gas, with the presence of large European multinational companies, now has an even more important and strategic value,” said outgoing European Union ambassador to Mozambique, Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar.
He said with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe resolved that: “it cannot trust its old partner (Russia) and is currently making efforts to secure alternative sources.
“We have adopted a new strategy in Europe, called ‘RePower EU’, which has several elements: with regard to gas, which is considered a transitional energy, we are looking for alternative suppliers, Mozambique is among the alternatives ,” he said.
Although the gas from the three projects approved so far is pre-sold, Mozambique has proven reserves of more than 180 trillion cubic feet, according to the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy.
Despite promising prospects, the armed insurgency that began in 2017 in Cabo Delgado province is a threat, but the entry of foreign troops to support Mozambican forces in the middle of last year has improved the security situation, recovering important positions such as the district of Mocímboa da Praia.
“There have been great advances on the ground. The insurgency no longer has this ability to permanently control key territories,” said Gaspar.
Since the beginning of June, new attacks have been launched in the south of the province, targeting points in Ancuabe district, with incursions also sowing unrest in Metuge, Mecúfi and Chiure districts nearby.
It is suspected that the actions in Ancuabe district are the work of rebels fleeing the military offensive that has been going on since July 2021, with international support.
According to Gaspar, despite the advances, the terrorist threat will continue for some time in northern Mozambique.
“I think that unfortunately, the threat will continue in a localised manner. Everything indicates that some of these [rebel] forces are mixed with the population, and also that terrorists from other places are arriving,” he said.
Gaspar ends his mission in Mozambique at the end of this month and will be replaced by Italian diplomat Antonino Maggiore.
Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique, is rich in natural gas, but has been terrorized since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), about 784 000 persons have been internally displaced by the conflict, which has killed about 4 000, according to the ACLED conflict registry project.
Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops, with the support of Rwandan and later Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops, has recovered a number of areas from rebel control, but their flight has led to new attacks in districts through which they have passed or where they have taken up temporary refuge. -AIM-New Ziana