Communication - Presse

UK Court of Appeal rejects case against Cabo Delgado LNG

The United Kingdom Court of Appeal in London has ruled that British government funding of up to 1.15 billion US dollars for liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations in Mozambique is lawful.

The court thus threw out an appeal by the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth (FOE), which was attempting to halt British funding for Mozambican LNG.

According to a report from the Reuters news agency, FOE had asked the court to rule that the British government had wrongly decided that funding the LNG project would be compatible with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The project in question is led by the French oil and gas company, TotalEnergies, and involves building two LNG plants on the Afungi peninsula in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

Currently the project is on hold because of islamist terrorism in Cabo Delgado. However, Total Energies has vowed to resume the project when the security situation allows.

Investment in the project is put at over 20 billion dollars, and UK Export Finance (UKEF) has committed to provide direct loans and guarantees to banks to support the design, building and operation of the project.

FOE’s legal action failed in a lower court and was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in a written ruling on Friday. Judge Geoffrey Vos said the Paris Agreement was ‘only one of a range of factors’ UKEF took into account when reaching the decision to fund the project.

Vos added that UKEF’s view that funding the project was aligned with the UK’s obligations under the Paris Agreement was ‘tenable’ and that there was no requirement for it to be ‘certain that the decision complied with those obligations’.

A UKEF spokesperson welcomed the court’s decision. “We remain confident that UK Export Finance follows robust and internationally recognised due diligence before providing any support for overseas projects,’ the spokesperson said.

TotalEnergies also welcomed the ruling, saying the project ‘will deliver a range of social and economic benefits to Mozambique and is a key part of Mozambique’s aim to diversify its economy’.

‘TotalEnergies supports the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the context of sustainable development and the fight against poverty,’ a spokesperson for the company added.

FOE, however, said it is now considering an appeal to the Supreme Court. “This extremely disappointing judgment doesn’t alter our firm belief that the UK government should not be supporting the Mozambique gas project, or any fossil fuel project at home or abroad,’ Rachel Kennerley, an international climate campaigner with FOE, declared.

“The climate crisis is intensifying with record-breaking heat waves and devastating floods and droughts, and countries like Mozambique are at the forefront of these impacts”, said Kinnerley. “The UK government should be helping poorer nations develop their huge renewable energy potential, not backing a massive gas development that’s fuelling violence and instability and will inevitably intensify the climate emergency we are in”.





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