East African oil pipeline hits headwinds

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MOMBASA, Kenya – Climate activists, including influential activists Vanessa Nakate and Hilda Nakabue, are urging more banks and insurers not to back down. East Africa’s controversial $ 5 billion pipeline is intended to transport oil from Uganda from the Hoima oil fields to the Tanzanian coastal town of Tanga.

“The climate crisis is affecting many people in Africa,” Nakate said at an event Wednesday called the African People’s Annual General Assembly. “There is no future in the fossil fuel industry that will do more harm than good to much of Africa. We cannot eat oil, we cannot drink oil ”.

Increasing pressure from environmental groups with the caption #StopEACOP has led to an increase in the number of banks and insurers abandoning the pipeline project. Just this week, the project suffered another major setback after insurance company Allianz Group left the project. He joins 15 banks and seven insurance companies, including HSBC, BNP Paribas and Swiss Re, who have turned down financial support for the pipeline in response to a campaign by several environmental organizations led by the 350.org international group.

The 897-mile (1,443-kilometer) pipeline is considered to be the longest heated pipeline in the world. In partnership with China National Petroleum Corporation and the French energy conglomerate TotalEnergies, Uganda National Petroleum Corporation and Tanzania Petroleum Development Cooperative are committed to moving forward the Pipeline project, which is expected to begin shipping oil by 2025.

Construction of the pipeline will resettle thousands of families and threaten the water supply in the basins of Lake Victoria and the River Nile, according to 350.org. The environmental group goes on to say that the crude oil pipeline will emit about 37 million tons (34 million tons) of carbon dioxide per year, which will contribute to climate change.

“TotalEnergies brings profit to people and it shows. “The communities of Uganda and Tanzania are fighting tirelessly against the planned pipeline and the scars of the devastation it left behind,” said Omar Elmawi, coordinator of the #StopEACOP campaign. “At a time when scientists are calling for the phasing out of fossil fuel projects to avoid the worst effects of climate change, it is pointless and irresponsible to carry on this project while ignoring the cries of the most affected.”

Environmental activist Hilda Nakabui added that the pipeline will primarily negatively impact women and children by spreading, polluting and moving along the proposed route. Climate advocates have also filed a lawsuit against the pipeline at the East African Regional Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania.

TotalEnergies defended the pipeline, stating that Uganda and Tanzania abide by strict environmental laws. An environmental impact assessment report from the Dutch Commission for Environmental Assessment raised concerns about significant risks to wildlife for chimpanzees, particularly in the forests of Bugoma, Wambia and Taala.

Initially, the price was $ 3.5 billion, but now the underground pipeline will cost $ 5 billion and is expected to start near Lake Alberta in Hoima County, western Uganda. It borders Lake Victoria, which enters northern Tanzania on its way to the Chongolean Peninsula in the Indian Ocean, and carries 216,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The pipeline is expected to transport more than 14,000 families to Uganda and Tanzania, according to the International Poverty Relief Organization Oxfam. But proponents of the project say it has $ 2 billion in annual oil export revenue and roughly 12,000 direct jobs in its defense. Proponents say it will also help the continent thrive.

“Africa needs cheap and stable energy like oil and coal to grow its manufacturing sector,” said Johnson Nderi, a Nairobi financial analyst who supports the pipeline.

British company Tullow Oil first discovered oil in the Lake Albert basin in 2006, estimated at 1.2 billion barrels of oil. In 2020 Tullow sold its entire stake in Total Energies. In early February, the pipeline’s major lenders, led by Total Energies, announced the finalization of a financial investment decision, which marked the start of construction of the pipeline.

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Source: Washington Post