What is the history of gas production in Cabo Delgado?

Gas exploration in Cabo Delgado began to gain momentum in the early 2010s. In 2010, the US energy company Anadarko discovered large gas reserves off the coast, marking the beginning of heightened interest in the region's potential. This discovery was followed in 2011 by the discovery of one of the world's largest gas reserves in Cabo Delgado, with a total of $35 billion invested in gas extraction. By 2012, major multinational energy companies had already invested billions in offshore gas development.

Who are the key players in Cabo Delgado's gas production?

French oil and gas company Total has a significant stake in the Mozambique LNG project, which includes the development of the Golfinho-Atum gas field in the offshore Area block of the deepwater Rovuma Basin. The region is also home to three of Africa's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects: TotalEnergies' Mozambique LNG, Eni and ExxonMobil's Coral South FLNG, and a joint venture between ExxonMobil, Eni and CNPC known as Rovuma LNG.

How has the quest for natural gas fueled violence in the region?

The discovery of natural gas has exacerbated existing tensions in Cabo Delgado. Since 2017, armed militants, often linked to the Islamic State, have escalated violence in the region, causing a severe humanitarian crisis with over 3,000 people killed and nearly a million displaced. The exploitation of natural resources has been identified as a key driver of the crisis in the region.

What are the environmental and climate concerns associated with gas production?

The 'gas for development' narrative has not lived up to expectations, with conflict, corruption and economic distortions overshadowing the potential economic benefits. In addition, global shifts in climate policy are calling into question the long-term viability of gas production in the region. Gas projects have also displaced farming and fishing communities, further degrading local livelihoods and the environment.

How has gas production impacted the local population?

Gas extraction has had a number of negative impacts on the local population. The displacement of farming and fishing communities has led to the loss of livelihoods and has even attracted young people to join Islamist rebel groups. In addition, the violence associated with resource exploitation has created a dire humanitarian situation, displacing many people and causing widespread suffering.

This article is part of our current reporting project "Dismantling the Fossil Fuel Industry".