Will Dutch government go wrong again on Mozambique gas project?

TotalEnergies wants to restart a controversial gas project in Mozambique, with help from the Dutch government. This is an incredibly bad idea. Yet the government once again runs the risk of overlooking significant dangers, new research shows.

Risks were known

In 2021, the Netherlands decided to provide an export credit insurance of 1 billion euros for the work of dredging company Van Oord at TotalEnergies' gas project. This was done despite major safety risks. These risks were known to the government and to export credit agency Atradius DSB. 

Soon TotalEnergies had to shut down gas production because of terrorist attacks in the region, the Palma Attacks. These resulted in more than 1,500 casualties. 800,000 people in the Cabo Delgado province were displaced.

Nevertheless, TotalEnergies wants to restart the project as soon as possible, with help from the Dutch government. 

This study shows what went wrong in the previous review process, and therefore what needs to change in the reassessment process. The study is an analysis of more than 9,000 documents from FOI requests (Freedom of Information requests).

Key outcomes: 

  • Atradius DSB's review process for export insurance drives approval. Stakeholders seem so determined to get the green light for the project that they ignore the human lives at stake.

  • The ministries had serious concerns about security in the area beforehand. After strong pressure from TotalEnergies, the export credit insurance was approved anyway.

  • It is highly implausible that the Dutch ministries did not know about the Palma Attacks before they made them public. They must have had the option of withdrawing from the project. 

The research was done by Global Justice Association and Dimes Consultancy on behalf of Milieudefensie and Both ENDS.

Read the full report below. 

Read the summary of the report.


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