Last update:

Mozambique Gas Project, villagers dispossessed for off shore drilling, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

The project leads to awful changes in Cabo Delgado province, displacing farming and fishing communities who lose their livelihoods, giving incentives to youth to join Islamist rebel groups.


This is an enormous project for the extraction and export  of natural gas. Discoveries of gas and oil deposits in the northern region of Mozambique (Cabo Delgado, by the Rovuma Basin), have triggered the interest of several fossil fuels’ multinationals. This description compiles mainly information about the Mozambique Gas Development Project, (hereafter the LNG project), led by the Texan company Anadarko. Yet there are many other companies exploring or getting ready to exploit in the area, such as the Dutch Shell, the Italian Eni or the Canadian Wentworth Resources. The development of gas industry in Cabo Delgado province is complicated with a local Islamist insurgency. The group is being called Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, meaning, “followers of the prophetic tradition”. Its emergence is often compared to that of Boko Haram in Nigeria, that started as a religious group and transformed into a guerrilla group. Between October 2017 and February 2018, they are suspected to have killed more than 40 people in the province. Some of the arrested suspects reported to be opposing gas drilling and ask for the creation of an independent State, in northern Cabo Delgado and annexing also south of Tanzania. The militants do raid in villages located deep in the forest, burn houses and steal food.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mozambique Gas Project, villagers dispossessed for off shore drilling, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique
State or province:Cabo Delgado Province
Location of conflict:Milamba, Quitupo, Senga, city of Palma
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Italian fossil fuels company ENI was the first, in 2006, to be granted an exploration permit of the area. Since then, so many other licenses have been granted to different companies in the Rovuma Basin. For instance, the Canadian Wentworth Resources has an exploration permit in Tembo, for an oil onshore reservoir [1]. The major resettlement plans in the Cabo Delgado province have been undertaken by Anadarko and Wentworth [2]. Anadarko found the gas reserve in offshore area 1, representing about 75 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. The total area extends over 2,6 million acres. The gas offshore reserve will be exploited as part of the Mozambique Gas Development Project, (hereafter the LNG project). Several other companies are taking part of the project, through the LNG park consortium. The shareholding of the consortium is divided as following: the major shareholder is the subsidiary of the US company Anadarko, Anadarko Moçambique Area 1 Lda (26.5%); then comes the Japanese Mitsui, through its subsidiary Mitsui E&P Mozambique Area 1 Ltd. (20%); in 3rd position comes the Mozambique State owned company, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (with 15% of the shares); the two Indian companies ONGC Videsh Ltd. (16%) and Bharat PetroResources Ltd. (10%); the Thai company PTT Exploration & Production Plc. (8.5%); and last, the also Indian company Oil India Ltd. (4%) [3]. The construction of the onshore liquified natural gas near Palma for the LNG project occupies at least 17.000 acres (approx. 6,900 hectares) [4]. Anadarko expects to start production in 2023/24 [5], with a production capacity of $12 million tons per year [6]. The gas fields and the LNG plant will be connected through a 45km-long subsea pipeline corridor. Anadarko reports to have already invested $4 billions dollars and plans to invest up to $20 billion [7]. Friends of the Earth Mozambique recalls that natural gas is a very polluting source of energy and its use goes in a total opposite direction to face climate change. It releases Co2 and methane, the two major gases increasing the greenhouse effect. What is more, the gas drilling process itself releases more than 300 chemicals, suspected or known to cause humans’ cancer, together with more than 1.000 chemicals that are fatal to the ecosystems [8]. The Islamist attacks do not seem to be dissuading the companies from remaining in the area, they are rather making major investments in security [9]. Among the security companies in the region, there is a joint venture, Pro6, half owned by the Dubai-based Lancaster 6 Group (L6G) and ProIndicus. Pro6 claims to have contracts with Anadarko [10]. TOTAL (from France) bought Anadarko interests.

See more
Project area:6,900
Level of Investment for the conflictive project30,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2012
Company names or state enterprises:Anadarko Petroleum Corporation from United States of America
Oil India Ltd. from India
PTT Exploration & Production Plc (PTTEP) from Thailand
ONGC Videsh Limited from India
Bharat PetroResources Ltd. from India
Mitsui & Co., Ltd. from Japan
Mitsui E&P Mozambique Area1 Ltd. from Mozambique - Subsidiary of Mitsui that acquired a partial interest in Mozambique's Area 1
Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Total Mocambique from France
Relevant government actors:Instituto Nacional de Petroleo, Mozambique Defence Armed Forces, Minstry of the Interior
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Friends of the Earth Mozambique/Justiça Ambiental --- --- Human Rights Watch
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Threats to use arms
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Global warming
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
Potential: Accidents
Other Health impactsExposure to dangerous chemicals for human health and ecosystems.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Specific impacts on women
Other socio-economic impactsEthnic and religious tensions, Increase of Islamist groups, opposing gas drilling and suspected to be at the origin of civilians killings. Justiça Ambiental JA! FOE Moçambique denounced armed attacks in Maganja on January 20th 2019 (two people killed), and a journalist being illegally detained since January 5th 2019. An army battalion was present when the shooting happened but did not intervene to protect civilians.
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Proposal and development of alternatives:Defended the activities that provide the locals with sustainable sources of livelihood, farming, fishing, tourism. Address the youth discontent, engage with the questions related to land ownership. Need to pacify the region regarding the increase of Islamist guerillas, but still respecting human rights.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Compensation promises by Anadarko for people's lands dispossessions have been broken by the US company. People are actually loosing their access to sustainable sources of livelihood, fishing and farming, while being exposed to new pollution dangers related gas offshore drilling and also being threatened by the rise of Islamist guerrillas.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Approach to Resettlement, Mozambique LNG Official Page
[click to view]

Mozambique LNG - The Mozambique Gas Development Project
[click to view]

Mozambique: New Gas Exploration Contracts Could Be Signed in September, August 2018
[click to view]

Tourists cancel visit to Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado due to instability, December 2018
[click to view]

Mozambique Offshore Area 1 Project, Offshore Technology
[click to view]

210 homes destroyed in latest Cabo Delgado attacks, June 2018
[click to view]

Poverty and unemployment fuels Cabo Delgado insurgency, admits Nyusi, August 2018
[click to view]

Mozambique shaken after string of mysterious murders, crime spree
[click to view]

Palma gas resettlement project to start later this year – Cabo Delgad governor, September 2017
[click to view]

Another Angola? Civil society protests against gas extraction in Mozambique, February 2016
[click to view]

Mozambican organisations welcome resettlement of 1,500 people in LNG project, March 2018
[click to view]

Large gas field discovered off coast of Mozambique, October 2011
[click to view]

Mozambique's gas-fuelled future threatened by jihadists, June 2018
[click to view]

Mozambique: Cabo Delgado Attacks Continue, Causing Panic, June 2018
[click to view]

Mozambique’s own version of Boko Haram is tightening its deadly grip, 11 July 2018
[click to view]

Ansar al-Sunna: A New Militant Islamist Group Emerges in Mozambique, June 14, 2018
[click to view]

Gregory Pirio, Robert Pittelli, and Yussuf Adam, The Emergence of Violent Extremism in Northern Mozambique, March 25, 2018
[click to view]

Mozambique sees $30 bln investment for 2018 LNG exports startup, August 2014
[click to view]

Mozambique Oil & Gas: Anadarko Palma resettlement project to start later this year – Cabo Delgado governor says, September 2017
[click to view]

Ethnic tensions menace Mozambique natural gas boom, February 2018
[click to view]

Selection of EPC Contractor for Initial Onshore LNG Park of the Natural Gas Development Project in Mozambique, May 2015
[click to view]

Financial Times Article
[click to view]

Mozambique: Islamist militants suspected in Cabo Delgado killings, January 2019
[click to view]

Ataque causa três mortos e um ferido em Cabo Delgado, Dez 2018
[click to view]

Nyusi in Cabo Delgado: Keep waiting and work harder, July 2018
[click to view]

Beheadings in Mozambique mark extremist threat in new gas frontier, July 2018
[click to view]

Mozambique Oil & Gas: NGO slams Cabinet for lack of competitiveness in gas infrastructure, May 2017
[click to view]

Six things you need to know about Anadarko, the worst corporation you’ve never heard of
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Mozambique - LNG investments and the fears of residents
[click to view]

Broken Lives, Stolen Future, Youtube video
[click to view]

Mozambique killings: Govt makes headway
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice Team, Camila Rolando Mazzuca
Last update01/04/2021
Conflict ID:3987
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.