By C. Derek Campbell*
The scale and enormous economic potential of Mozambique’s LNG projects constitutes a seminal effort with national, regional and global implications and visibility. In fact, Total’s Mozambique LNG project alone costs about $20bn and represents Africa’s single largest foreign direct investment to date. Led by French major Total, it gathers a wide range of private and state-owned entities including Mitsui, Oil India, ONGC Videsh, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, PTT Exploration and Mozambique’s ENH.
Given the stakes associated with this vital project, investors, government officials and all other stakeholders must be assured it will not suffer operationally due to security issues. An essential element of that assurance requires project stakeholder leadership to actively demonstrate its value to Mozambique’s citizens and simultaneously appreciate there is a regional and global audience to be addressed. In turn, those associated messages must be carefully crafted, and their content reflect cultural accuracy.
This engagement of Mozambique LNG’s stakeholders must also be active and well-constructed. While providing relevant information is critical, it must also be timely, and its substance reflect institutional credibility. Further, project leadership must be prepared to counter misinformation at all levels – ideally, this is accomplished by active assessment of information atmospherics and by staying ahead of any negative messages.
The current threat to the LNG project has elevated the need to institute measures that account for all domains of security operations. This increasing sense of urgency is demonstrated by the deadly 27 June 2020 ambush of a construction contractor’s vehicle near the Tanzanian border. The attack itself was meant to send a definitive message and the LNG project’s stakeholder leadership must understand how information-related activities could have provided indications and warnings that may have prevented/mitigated this attack. Simultaneously, the LNG project will realize improved protection of vital operational information.
It can realize those results by consciously establishing and resourcing a dedicated information entity within the Security directorate. Their key functions will include the ability to synchronize actions with the project’s senior leadership and they must be empowered to coordinate with the media, local populations, and law enforcement agencies at all levels. Additionally, due to the varied nature of Mozambique LNG’s infrastructure (offshore, coastal and interior facilities), security officials must account operational and administrative activities in and around facilities that potentially affect contested or culturally sensitive territory. Therefore, it is essential to define the most effective manner to present security-related messages to respective audiences in those affected areas.
For obvious reasons, the security of Mozambique’s LNG is an absolute. The development and implementation of capabilities that actively account for information’s impact on all related goals and activities, to include the local community, is critical to the development and deployment of modern security operations in Mozambique.
*African Energy Chamber.C. Derek Campbell is the CEO of Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc. Article written with supporting information from ENRS Strategic Partner, Andy Vonada, CEO – JB Management, Inc