TotalEnergies will on October 10 answer to charges of environmental and human rights abuse before the European Union parliament in Brussels, in a new threat to the actualisation of its East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop) and related upstream oil projects in Uganda’s Lake Albert region.
The European parliament has summoned chief executive Patrick Pouyanné to appear before the parliamentary Committee on Environment, Food and Natural Resources, as well as that of Human Rights.
The EU resolution called for an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems, including the shores of Lake Albert, referring to the 132 wells that Total plans to dig into the Murchison Falls National Park.
Uganda government agencies are also sweating to dispel claims that Eacop will cross numerous protected ecosystems, which will be impacted by the heated pipe operating at 50 degrees Celsius.
Officials counter that there are only five small rivers and out of the 1,443km of the pipeline, and only 8% is a forest reserve.
Last week, the European Union parliament passed a resolution calling for TotalEnergies and its joint venture partners to delay the projects by one year, to address environmental and human rights concerns.
However, TotalEnergies, siding with President Museveni, vowed that the projects – now in the development phase – will not be halted.
The project was signed off in February this year by TotalEnergies with joint venture partners CNOOC and Uganda National Oil Company. Total’s 62% stake makes it the biggest shareholder in Eacop. Uganda National Oil Corporation (UNOC) and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation own a 15% stake each, with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) owning 8% shareholding.
Executives of TotalEnergies and state-owned UNOC say the projects will proceed according to schedule, with site preparation for the two upstream oil production infrastructure at Kingfisher and Tilenga currently underway.
The joint venture partners target commercial production of oil and gas in 2025, and are prepared to defy EU calls to delay the project.
The 1,445-kilometre heated pipeline starts in Hoima in the Albertine Graben, western Uganda, and ends at Tanga Port in Tanzania. At peak production, it will transport 216,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Because of Uganda’s oil’s waxy nature, it will be one of the longest heated crude oil export pipelines in the world. Tanzania will earn $12.7 off each barrel of oil transported through it.