‘We cannot drink oil’: campaigners condemn east African pipeline project | Global development


Activists have accused French and Chinese language oil companies of ignoring enormous environmental dangers after the signing of accords on the controversial development of a £2.5bn oil pipeline.

Uganda, Tanzania and the oil corporations Complete and CNOOC signed three key agreements on Sunday that pave the best way for development to start out on the deliberate east African crude oil pipeline (EACOP). However on Tuesday a letter signed by 38 civil society organisations throughout each east African international locations mentioned the events had failed to handle environmental issues over the pipeline and had steamrollered over court docket and parliamentary processes.

Work is anticipated to start this yr on what can be the world’s longest electrically heated pipeline, which can transfer crude oil from fields close to Lake Albert in western Uganda 900 miles to Tanzania’s Indian Ocean seaport of Tanga. Uganda’s crude oil is extremely viscous, so it should be heated to be stored liquid sufficient to movement.

Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, and his Tanzanian counterpart, Samia Suluhu Hassan, witnessed the signing of agreements between shareholders, host governments, and on tariff and transport between EACOP and the Lake Albert oil shippers.

Uganda found reserves of crude close to Lake Albert on its border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2006, and the landlocked nation needs a pipeline to move oil to worldwide markets.

“These agreements open the best way for the graduation of the Lake Albert development project,” Complete mentioned in an announcement on Monday. “The principle engineering, procurement and development contracts might be awarded shortly, and development will begin. First oil export is deliberate in early 2025.”

The oil will come from two tasks – the Tilenga project, operated by Complete, and the Kingfisher project, operated by CNOOC, which collectively are anticipated to provide as much as 230,000 barrels a day. Authorities geologists estimate whole reserves at 6bn barrels.

Nevertheless, Diana Nabiruma, of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), advised the Guardian: “It’s regarding that main agreements are being signed and the businesses are being given the go-ahead to award contracts and begin growing the Lake Albert oil project.

“The oil tasks pose main environmental dangers. Sources, some shared with international locations such because the DRC, Tanzania and Kenya, together with Lake Albert in addition to Lake Victoria and rivers, are susceptible to oil air pollution,” she mentioned.

A boy stands by a globe statue at the Murchison Falls national park in Uganda.
A globe at Uganda’s Murchison Falls nationwide park. Activists concern the 900-mile pipeline poses dangers to water sources and fisheries. {Photograph}: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty

“The sources help the fisheries, tourism and different financial actions. They’re additionally necessary for meals and water safety. They due to this fact should be conserved.”

The #StopEACOP alliance marketing campaign condemned the choice to construct the pipeline, which it says will displace 12,000 households and can be an enormous environmental threat at a time of local weather emergency, when the world wants to maneuver away from fossil fuels.

Vanessa Nakate, founding father of the Rise Up local weather motion in Uganda, mentioned: “There is no such thing as a cause for Complete to interact in oil exploration and the development of the east Africa crude oil pipeline as a result of this implies fuelling the destruction of the planet and worsening the already present local weather disasters in probably the most affected areas.

“There is no such thing as a future within the fossil gasoline trade and we cannot drink oil. We demand Complete to stand up for the individuals and the planet,” she mentioned.

Lucie Pinson, of Reclaim Finance, which works to decarbonise the monetary system, added: “We name on banks to publicly commit to remain away from the project and traders to vote towards Complete’s local weather technique and the renewal of the mandate of its CEO Patrick Pouyanné on the group’s AGM in Might.”

Final week, greater than 260 African and worldwide organisations despatched an open letter to 25 business banks urging them to not finance the development of the EACOP.

David Pred, of Inclusive Development Worldwide, which helps communities to defend their rights towards dangerous company tasks, mentioned: “The oil corporations try to decorate up the funding determination signing ceremony, however fortuitously this climate-destroying project is much from a finished deal.

Oil tankers at a Total petrol station in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
The nation has but to see something of the oil bonanza that appeared close to when deposits of crude have been found in 2006. {Photograph}: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty

“Complete and CNOOC nonetheless must safe insurance coverage and lift $2.5bn in debt financing for the EACOP to maneuver ahead and they’re going to wrestle mightily to search out sufficient banks and insurance coverage suppliers prepared to affiliate themselves with such a project,” he claimed.

Complete mentioned it had undertaken “rigorous” environmental and social threat evaluation and mitigation methods in relation to the tasks.

In its assertion on Monday, it mentioned: “All of the companions are dedicated to implement these tasks in an exemplary method and taking into highest consideration the biodiversity and environmental stakes in addition to the native communities’ rights and throughout the stringent environmental and social efficiency requirements of the Worldwide Finance Company.”

Pouyanné mentioned: “The Tilenga development and EACOP pipeline project are main tasks for Complete and are per our technique to give attention to low break-even oil tasks whereas decreasing the common carbon depth of the group’s upstream portfolio. These tasks will create important in-country worth for each Uganda and Tanzania.

“Complete can be taking into the very best consideration the delicate environmental context and social stakes of those onshore tasks. Our dedication is to implement these tasks in an exemplary and absolutely clear method.”

CNOOC has been approached for remark.

However Nabiruma accused the 2 east African governments of racing to signal offers earlier than their residents had been advised how any dangers can be “prevented, minimised or mitigated”.

Robert Kasande, everlasting secretary at Uganda’s ministry of power and mineral development, mentioned: “We’re very conscious of the surroundings that we work in. It’s a really delicate ecosystem. So we now have put every part that we have to do in place.”

He mentioned the project was being performed in accordance with the Equator principles – a risk-management framework adopted by monetary establishments for assessing and managing environmental and social threat in tasks.

“This can be a huge project for us as a rustic,” Kasande mentioned. “These sources which can be going to be coming into the nation are going to be an enormous increase to this financial system.”