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Gas project in Mozambique and conflict of interests: First hearing against Bpifrance

Paris, March 13, 2023This Tuesday, the Court of Créteil will hold its first hearing following the legal action initiated by Sherpa and supported by Friends of the Earth France regarding export credit garantees granted by Bpifrance in the context of gas extraction and liquefaction projects in Mozambique with dramatical adverse environmental effects. Sherpa has initiated a legal action to obtain evidence of the existence of conflict of interests in the decision-making bodies of Bpifrance to shed the light on the conditions under which these guarantees were granted.

In 2010, massive offshore gas fields are discovered in Mozambique, one of the most heavily indebted country of the African continent, crisis even worsened by the uncovering of the massive corruption scandal of the hidden debt. The total emissions of all three projects amount to 49 years of the current emissions of Mozambique [1]. Among these deposits, the one located off the coast of Cabo Delgado province has given rise to the vast “Coral South FLNG” extraction project led by ENI East Africa.

This ecological disaster is compounded by the intensification of armed conflicts led by rebel groups and sometimes involving private security companies. In the poor region of Cabo Delgado, hundreds of people are reported to have been killed by the armed group Al [2] . Already affected by corruption [3], the financial windfall from gas exploitation in this region makes the situation potentially explosive. 

France is playing a leading role behind these gas extraction project via public financial guarantees: at the end of 2017, Bpifrance granted an export guarantee of 530 million euros to the Coral South FLNG project. Guarantees granted in the name and on behalf of the French State, despite the porosity between the decision-making bodies of the public bank and the companies that benefit from the garantees. There are solid suspicions that figures would have strategic functions simultaneously within Bpifrance and the beneficiary companies. 

Sherpa, with the support of Friends of the Earth France, is requesting from French justice (article 145 of the civil procedure code) that Bpifrance communicates internal documents that might demonstrate possible conflicts of interest. We demand more transparency on the conditions under which these guarantees are granted to projects with major adverse effects on the environment.


[1] Friends of the Earth France, Justiça Ambiental, Friends of the Earth International, “Gas in Mozambique: A windfall for the industry, a curse for the country“, June 2020.

[2] On the conflicts in Mozambique and more particularly in the province of Cabo Delgado see Amnesty International report “What I Saw Is Death’: War Crimes in Mozambique’s Forgotten Cape”, March 2021.

[3] Friends of the Earth, “Fuelling the crisis in Mozambique“, May 2022, p.3.

Press release from:
Sherpa and Friends of the Earth France.

For more information: presse@asso-sherpa.org

Last modified: 24 March 2023