Exxon looking to capture carbon, cut costs at $30 bln Mozambique LNG project

The logo of Exxon Mobil Corporation is shown on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

MAPUTO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) is looking to green its $30 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique via carbon capture technology, as well as cut costs for the development, Mozambique's energy minister said on Thursday.

Max Tonela told journalists at a joint press conference with an Exxon representative that the U.S. oil major had explained its plans in a meeting with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi.

Exxon's is the biggest of three massive gas projects planned or underway in Mozambique's northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, but the U.S. oil major has delayed its final investment decision following the COVID-19 pandemic and amid an Islamic State-linked insurgency in the region.

Executives have already said the company is still committed to the project - a point Exxon's president of upstream oil and gas Liam Mallon reaffirmed to Nyusi in the meeting, Tonela told journalists.

"The company's focus will be on reducing costs and redesigning the project to capture carbon dioxide," he said, adding it would also seek synergies with TotalEnergies , developing a $20 billion project next door, in a bid to make it both cheaper and cleaner.

Mallon, who was present, said the meeting with Nyusi confirmed Exxon's commitment to its project and that the dialogue had been constructive.

However, he added, the company regretted the security situation in Cabo Delgado. The insurgency has killed thousands, forced many times more from their homes and also brought TotalEnergies' project to a grinding halt.

"Essentially we are stopped until the situation improves," Mallon said, adding that while there had been some progress more was needed.

Mozambique has accepted help in the form of military training including from the United States and European Union, while a regional southern African bloc and Rwanda have sent troops to beat back the militants - interventions that appear to have had some success.

Mallon gave no update on Exxon's delayed final investment decision for the project, which is now expected in 2022.

Reporting by Manuel Mucari Writing by Emma Rumney Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.