To Stop Or To Support Eacop

In recent times, most especially after the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) in February this year, government agencies and personalities intensified efforts to promote, protect and make a case for Uganda's premier oil and gas infrastructure project, the East African Crude Pipeline. 

A campaign codenamed Support EACOP was rolled out to counter Stop EACOP, a campaign which over the years has been traded by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that look at the $3.5bn Pipeline as a climate change facilitator by potentially emitting over 34 million tons of CO2 emissions every single year. 

According to revised plans, the Pipeline construction is scheduled to start in 2023 and be ready in 2025 when Uganda will realize First Oil.

The 1444km pipeline will carry crude oil from Hoima in western Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga where it will be shipped to the international market. The EACOP project developers are TotalEnergies (62%), the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments (15% each) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (8%). 

The pipeline, which will be the longest electrically-heated crude oil pipeline in the world, will transport 216,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Tilenga and Kingfisher oil fields. Apart from carrying the Ugandan waxy black gold and the subsequent revenue, it will give Uganda, the Pipeline development will create hundreds of jobs and offer numerous business opportunities to Ugandans and Tanzanians. 

The snaking infrastructure, like the ongoing Support EACOP & Stop EACOP debate, has positive and negative sides. 

FIGHTING TO ‘STOP’ & ‘SUPPORT’ EACOP

The government and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) had for the long haul ignored the anti-fossil fuels campaigners to go on with the EACOP smear campaign until now. The environmentalists, local and international organizations and individuals called on the government to abandon the multibillion-dollar project. 

On seeing that the government was not yielding, they turned their focus on the potential financiers of the Pipeline like banks and insurance companies. And indeed they managed to get some American and European banks to back off and indicate that they cannot fund the project because of the risks it poses to the environment and its contribution to climate change. Financial institutions like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and others have ruled out any financing role. Insurance heavyweights Munich Re, Allianz, Axa and Beazley will not provide any cover. TotalEnergies has not come out to address this matter but their operations in Uganda have remained steady. 

In an interview with Daily Monitor, Mr. Peter Muliisa, the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer said they have 'entities from Europe, from Asia and all over the world willing to finance EACOP. He told the newspaper that they will be able to announce the chosen financiers in July. According to the Center for International Environment Law, Japanese Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) is acting as financial advisor to TotalEnergies in a deal that will see a yet-to-be-named Japanese bank bankroll the transboundary project. TotalEnergies by proximity to CNOOC is also said to be considering going to China in search of a capable financier.

POPULAR GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSITION MOVEMENT 

The global conversation regarding the energy transition that will see the world move on from fossil fuels to clean energy put projects like the EACOP in a difficult position and developing countries like Uganda set to adversely be affected by this transition are putting up a fight. 

These poor countries want to extract oil and gas at any cost. And with the financial backing of international companies, as we are seeing in Uganda, the developing countries will proceed to harvest the hydrocarbons as they keenly observe the clean green energy game so that they don’t miss out on anything. 

In Uganda, there is the political will for the country to extract the hydrocarbons from the ground, refine them for the domestic market and export the rest to the international market which is the part where the EACOP comes in. 

But to achieve this, Uganda has to deal with local CSOs that have the backing and influence of their counterparts from the West. They want Uganda to abort its mission of extracting its oil and join the energy transition trend swaying into the renewable and green energy side.  

The anti-EACOP campaigners in Uganda led by Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), a CSO leading 13 others on his cause, argues that the EACOP project poses immense social, economic, environmental, and biodiversity and climate change risks. The CSOs alert that these risks are set to, directly and indirectly, affect forests, national parks, game reserves, lakes, rivers, wetlands and others in Uganda and Tanzania.

BIODIVERSITY RISKS RAISED

AFIEGO, quoting a 2017 World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report reveals that the EACOP will affect 2,000km of protected areas and will fragment habitats for elephants, chimpanzees and other endangered animals in protected areas like Bugoma, Wambabya and Taala forests in Uganda as well as Minziro Nature Forest Reserve and Burigi-Biharamulo Game Reserve in Tanzania.

It is also believed that the EACOP is set to affect wetlands belonging to Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika as well as the Wami/Ruvu and Pagani basins. Other wetland systems that are likely to be impacted include the Sango Bay-Musambwa Island, Nabajjuzi and Lake Nabugabo, Mabamba Bay, Lutembe bay and others.

The conservationists say that the pipeline poses a great risk to the rich biodiversity – the forests, game reserves, lakes, wetlands and other protected areas which are habitats for internationally-recognized endangered species. Bugoma forest in Uganda hosts over 600 chimpanzees or 12% of Uganda’s chimpanzee population; the wetland systems are important bird areas for both migratory and other bird species.

Some of the social impacts include the possibility of EACOP affecting a total of 13,000 households in Uganda and Tanzania. These households are losing land, houses, homes and a way of life. 

As they waited for compensation, the Project Affected Persons were stopped from using their land to grow perennial food and cash crops leading to food scarcity, reduced family incomes, psychosocial distress, school drop-outs, and abuse of their cultural rights and others. 

In the long-term, community and public expenditure on health, climate change crises and others could increase because of the EACOP. Air pollution, oil spills and others will worsen community health.

ALL IS WELL – GOVERNMENT, OIL COMPANIES SAY

Despite all these fears being raised by the CSOs, the EACOP project, like the other oil projects will go ahead as planned with the full blessings of the government including well-received approvals from the National Environment Management Authority which supervises and certifies all Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) conducted before any project commences. The EACOP, after a rigorous ESIA exercise, was okayed by NEMA and will proceed. Internally, the IOCs, TotalEnergies and CNOOC Uganda, base their and international based. 

TotalEnergies recently launched the Tilenga Biodiversity Program, an initiative aimed at protecting and conserving biodiversity in and around the Tilenga project area. This gesture has been looked at as evidence and commitment from TotalEnergies indicating that prioritizing nature was top of the company’s agenda.

Mr. Philippe Groueix, the General Manager of TotalEnergies, said they are mindful of the sensitive context within which they are undertaking their activities. "We have thus committed to ensuring that we implement action plans designed to produce a net positive impact on biodiversity. The biodiversity program will ensure a sustainable approach in working with the community towards protecting and conserving the ecologically rich area.”

Speaking at the 3rd National Local Content Conference Ms. Pauline Macronald, the Environment & Biodiversity Manager at TotalEnergies said the company strives to manage the environmental effects of all its projects & operations according to the Mitigation Hierarchy principles of avoidance, minimization, restoration & offsetting. 

To enhance Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services, Ms. Macronald, revealed that TotalEnergies has partnered with NEMA, National Forestry Authority, Ministry of Water, ECOTRUST, Uganda Wildlife, Petroleum Authority and Wildlife Conservation Society to ensure a positive impact on wildlife & communities. 

Mr. John B. Habumugisha the Deputy Managing Director of EACOP Limited, a company that was formed to do business, discussing Environment and Social Governance elaborated that as a company, they continue to insist that anything they do around EACOP must be stringently compliant to the environmental and Social requirements. "In terms of the environment, we have avoided most of the sensitive areas & the design levels are stringent. Our system ensures that we don't have issues of spillage," said Mr. Habumugisha.

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda, the industry regulator, has fully backed the project saying that IOCs have done the necessary due diligence to ensure the safe production and transportation of oil through EACOP. Dr Joseph Kobusheshe the Director HSE at Petroleum Authority explained that Environment and Social Governance has become an important measure of sustainability.

THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY AFRICA, STILL NEEDS OIL & GAS  

The emergence of the pumped-up Support EACOP agenda knocking out Stop EACOP with verve reignited a public debate on what is the right thing to do. This debate also came at a time when the war in Eastern Europe between Ukraine and Russia was causing a scarcity of crude oil and sky-rocketing fuel prices globally. 

The war and the subsequent sanctions by the EU and partners on Russia created a scarcity of Natural Liquefied Gas. These scarcities and the outcry that resulted somehow underscored the fact that fossil fuels still drive the day-to-day lives of people across the world and that the world cannot afford to live without them. 

In a highly publicized article, President Yoweri Museveni May this year described efforts by developed countries to impose a moratorium on fossil fuel investment across the world as 'misguided'. President Museveni explained that due to the highly increasing population in Uganda, renewables cannot 'deliver the base load required to boost manufacturing or industrialize agriculture -- crucial for Africa in the wake of the pandemic.'

"In light of the Ukraine war, the West, too, would do well to consider a policy change -- and initiatives like the Lake Albert basin oil project may form part of the answer. By investing in oil and gas deposits in friendly nations such as Uganda, Europe could decrease its reliance on hostile nations." President Museveni penned. 

President Museveni's argument is shared by many industry players on the African continent. They argue that with Africa's socioeconomic development hinging on the exploitation of the continent's oil and gas resources, this ‘hypocrisy’ by already developed countries in the West could spell a travesty for Africa.

Mr. Leoncio Amada Nze, the president of the African Energy Chamber questions 'how is it that Africa must decarbonize while Europe continues to industrialize.' He says: “We deserve to develop our oil and gas to make energy poverty history. In 2022, Africa needs to ramp up its licensing rounds, drive exploration and position itself as the primary supplier for domestic and global markets." With over 600 million people without access to electricity, Africa cannot and should not leave its oil and gas resources in the ground, he adds. 

 

DR Congo Entry Into EAC Good For Uganda Oil & Gas Sector

By Dr. Abel Tindao

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has joined the East Africa Community (EAC) at a critical time for Uganda and its quest to become an oil and gas producer. Uganda and partners - Tanzania, TotalEnergies, CNOOC Uganda and others – in February announced the Final Investment Decision (FID) that will see international oil companies invest about $15bn in the Albertine Graben, western Uganda.

Uganda, with 6.2bn barrels of yet to be extracted crude oil (1.7bn said to be recoverable) shares a political boundary with DRC. Already, endowed with various minerals like gold, diamond and other, DRC, according to a 2012 seismic survey, suspects to have about 3bn barrels in the blocks around the Lake Albert basin. This basin is shared by both countries.

It is important to note that while Uganda and DRC are politically friendly, the continued instability in East DRC, including harbouring Ugandan rebels is detrimental to regional peace, doing business, development and social welfare. But now that DRC has joined the EAC, there is hope that the bloc can as a group pacify that part of DRC.

Existing collaboration between Uganda & DRC

Late last year, Uganda and DRC collaborated to help Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) flush out Allied Defense Forces (ADF) rebels out of their hideouts inside DRC using what has been called Operation Shuja. The ADF, backed by terrorism groups like Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda, had bombed two separate targets in Uganda’s capital Kampala. This collaboration is an indication that more collaborations can be achieved more so if they are economic.

In December of 2021 it was reported that Uganda had started building 223km of roads in the DRC at a cost estimated to be USD330m to improve trade in the two countries.

In 2020, DRC exported $17.7M to Uganda. The main products that DRC exported to Uganda are Raw Tobacco ($4.65M), Scrap Iron ($3.73M), and Sawn Wood ($3.15M). In the last 25 years the exports of DRC to Uganda have increased at an annualized rate of 16.1%, from $421, 000 in 1995 to $17.7M in 2020.

In 2020, Uganda exported $265M to DRC. The main products that Uganda exported to DRC were Cement ($40.6M), Palm Oil ($24.2M), and Rice ($12.2M). In the last 25 years the exports of Uganda to DRC have increased at an annualized rate of 8.03%, from $38.4M in 1995 to $265M in 2020.

With these number as provided by the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), an online data visualization and distribution platform, Uganda stands to benefit from this arrange by exporting more to the DRC< a country with a population of 90 million people.

The two above collaboration show to what extent the two countries eying economic transformation can go. And now that they are endowed with rich natural resources, there is so much they can achieve if they focus on being good neighbors, promote peace, economic recovery and pan Africanism.

Untapped potential waiting

Of the entire Albertine Graben endowed with huge potential of hydrocarbons, Uganda has explored only 40 percent and will in the next 25 years when the confirmed recoverable oil is expected to be depleted, Uganda will have earned a humongous USD50bn. But that is anything to be worried about. Already Oranto Petroleum and Armour Energy have been licensed to do exploration in that area.

Also, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) has sent out expression of interest for oil and gas exploration. Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) is teaming up China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC Uganda) to venture into that. This is an indication of how rich the Albertine Graben is and the prospects for Uganda continue to look good.

The DRC is already an oil producing country, positioned number 12 in Africa, depending largely on its coastal production activities in the western part of the country. But Sub Sahara’s largest country has huge untapped potential on borders of Uganda.

TotalEnergies, the oil company commandeering the development and eventual production of Uganda’s oil is said ‘to be chasing for business in DRC’ with a mission to tap into their resources. The oil company and Uganda & DRC can harmonize their interests and come up with a formula that will see the natural resources exploited and benefit the citizens.

Protecting the environment, rich biodiversity

Of course this has to be done sustainably since it is in an eco-sensitive area rich in biodiversity. You wouldn’t want to extract the hydrocarbon at the expense of the environment. That would be disastrous and irresponsible. Already, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have sounded worries that fossil fuels is putting the environment in Lake Albert basin at risk and fueling climate change.

To avert such fears, Uganda has a good National Oil Gas Policy whose mission is to create everlasting value from the resources and law regimes that are protective of not only revenues that will be accrued from the oil and gas production but also the environment. DRC can bench on what Uganda has achieved, and of course, Uganda can offer what it has learnt so far.

Tightening security & ensuring peace

In the jungles of eastern DRC, proximately next to Uganda, there over 133 rebel or militia groups funded by the illicit minerals trade. These militias are a menace and if not dealt with can curtail the proper and sustainable exploitation of these natural resources.

We have seen this happen in Nigeria’s Delta where militia bomb and set oil pipelines ablaze. Uganda and DRC need to find a domestic solution to this because, like we have seen, even with the presence of United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), a UN peacekeeping force hasn’t stopped these militias from causing havoc.

Sometimes Lake Albert has seen Ugandan fishermen attacked by armed civilians or DRC soldiers and robbed clean while on the lake in Ugandan waters. This continues to happen even when the Ugandan government protested to their counterpart in Kinshasa. This cannot continue especially when exploration for oil is ongoing on the lake. Gun wielding bandits are a risk to manpower undertaking exploration. Oil companies wouldn’t want to invest and risk the lives of their workers like that.

It is therefore important that the two countries work out a solution and give investors and oil companies a guarantee that they are safe. Investor confidence is earned.

The writer is a Ugandan marine security expert.

TotalEnergies, Partners Sign Four Important Agreements To Foster Sustainable Development Of Uganda’s Oil & Gas

TotalEnergies has made clear commitments toward ensuring that its activities are conducted in line with best environmental and social practices, Philippe Groueix, the General Manager of TotalEnergies EP Uganda Wednesday said at the launch of TEPU Take Action Campaign.

The campaign aimed at showcasing the positive impact of TotalEnergies' activities in the Tilenga Project area also saw four key important agreements signed to enhance road safety, cultural heritage and biodiversity conservation in the Albertine region.

“We are committed to working with partners who are experts in implementing sustainable projects aimed at achieving positive outcomes for conservation, culture and communities,” Groueix stated further.

TotalEnergies signed an agreement with Safe Way Right Way (SWRW) for road safety initiatives in schools, Cross Cultural Foundation Uganda (CCFU) for the implementation of a cultural dialogue and heritage programme, and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to support UWA law enforcement activities in the MFNP park and Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWT) to promote community, education and awareness around Budongo forest central reserve.

These agreements, Groueix said, are just the beginning of a much bigger programme of partnerships for the implementation of TotalEnergies' actions for sustainability while pursuing the production of Uganda’s oil and gas.

Barbra Babweteera Mutambi, the Executive Director (ED) of Cross Cultural Foundation Uganda (CCFU) explained that key activities to be undertaken under this program include identifying, safeguarding and promoting traditional knowledge, and facilitation of value addiction in crafts making and traditional music.

“The project aims to promote culture as a key to improving community and individual livelihood, particularly through capacity building and intercultural collaborations in artistic initiatives, crafts, and traditional music, with more focus on women, youth, and children,” she said.

This will not be the first time Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) is working with TotalEnergies in the Albertine region – the latest partnership is an extension of a relationship where both have been working in Budongo Forest using radio drama.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Dr Joshua Rukundo noted that TotalEnergies has developed strategies to use new cleaner ways of extracting energy.

Simon Nampindo, the Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) stated that projects like Tilenga have a long duration of over 25years and during that period WCS’s role will be to use science to conserve the environment. TotalEnergies should be able to take criticism based on science, he added.

TotalEnergies will be implementing the Road Safety and Mobility Program in schools to deal with the traffic in the Albertine region.  It is predicted traffic will double over the coming years due to increased oil and gas activities.

The program themed Road Safety at Heart prioritizes road safety sensitization and awareness in schools with specific emphasis on young children and the youths in the Albertine region. It seeks to reach 100 schools and over 38,000 students.

As TotalEnergies Profits Soar, The Rest Of Us Suffer

By Charity Migwi and Omar Elmawi

Last week TotalEnergies announced its 2021 financial results and 2022 outlook, which showed they will be making the largest profit in the history of any company in France. The announcement revealed that the oil and gas giant's profits amounted to over  $18 billion for the year 2021. In short, Total is killing it. But the question is, at whose expense?

TotalEnergies (after rebranding its name last year) has a presence in 130 countries globally, including oil and gas extraction activities, refining and chemical sites, and service stations. Of these, 30 of their chapters are in Africa.

If you pose the question: why do 90% of their investments go to oil and gas expansion with a view to increase production by 50% by 2030 with a majority of these projects located within the Global South, they will be quick to tell you their motivations are to support the Global South to develop and catch up with the rest of the developed world. But who are we kidding? We all know that companies, TotalEnergies included, are solely driven by profits, the planet be damned.

As the world rapidly divests from fossil fuels and stricter regulations are being imposed on them, especially in the developed world, it is not surprising that TotalEnergies and other Big Oil companies have identified the Global South as the new frontier for their polluting business under the guise of generating employment for scores of the population and generating revenue for these struggling economies and nations. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

In a highly publicised revelation last year, it emerged that Total knew about climate change and its impacts for more than five decades, and did nothing to solve the problems. In fact, all they have done is sponsor greenwashing campaigns and actions geared at misleading the public or hiding the impacts of climate change.

This would perhaps explain why Ugandans and Tanzanians do not see Total's involvement and the announcement of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for EACOP and associated projects as a blessing but the beginning of an economic downshift.

There are several reasons to think this. From the structure of this corporation agreement between Total Energies and the rest shows Total stands to gain the most with a 62% stake on the EACOP. One of those ways is the EACOP Bill  (https://bit.ly/3rNEkLJ) (now Act) which is skewed to benefit Total the most. The Act has many gaps and weaknesses to protect or address environmental, community land rights and climate change concerns. Total owns twice the amount of shares as the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments' in the pipeline itself, amounting to 62% (Uganda and Tanzania each own 15% shares).

EACOP is not the only African charm that TotalEnergies has set its eyes on. Once in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Total had called dibs on a large portion of the pristine ecosystem that is the Virunga National Park. After years of dissent from climate and environmental activists, Total bowed to pressure and withdrew from the region, focusing its attention elsewhere.

Whether this retreat was conditional remains to be seen. Currently, the company is planning to resume operations on a mega Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project in Mozambique after almost a year of suspension. Just like in Uganda and Tanzania, Total's operations have ignited flames in the province of Cabo Delgado by fuelling social tensions that have brought the nation to its knees.

When massive natural gas discoveries were made in 2009, the vision of leapfrogging to middle-income status was all too promising. More than a decade later, the people of Mozambique have nothing to delight in. Instead, unfolding massacres, displacement, and untold misery have become the norm.

The already vulnerable locals are feeling frustrated, being caught up in the manifestation of the paradox of plenty. Their resource-rich country is being plundered by political and global economic elites as they suffer violence and human rights abuses amid escalating insurgencies and security threats conveniently labelled as 'terrorism'.

Beyond the irredeemable tragedy in Cabo Delgado, the town of Palma was also attacked, bringing chaos to the doorstep of Total's operations and causing people to flee to neighbouring countries and abandoning the town. As a result, Total declared force majeure on its $20 billion project, absolving itself of its contractual obligations and commitments while maintaining the largest share of benefits as the project concessionaire despite survival being at stake.

Most recently, Total announced their intent to restart the project, barely before a return to normalcy in the region. Far be it from over, the impacts of the fossil fuel industry such as Total, in Africa goes beyond human rights violations.

Continued investments in the fossil fuel projects will exacerbate the vulnerability of communities in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar that are yet to fully recover from  the terrible cyclones Idai and Kenneth of 2019 and the recent cyclones Ana and Batsirai that left a wave of destruction, and a death toll of over 100 people.

Evidently, the so-called developmental gains promised by such industries are nothing more than the brunt of an already devastating climate catastrophe as they continue to enrich themselves at the expense of African nations.

The people of Africa do not need to be weighed against profit and economic development. The climate crisis is already unfolding in the region. Solar, wind and other green alternative sources of energy that are in abundance have the potential to fuel the continent's prosperity while putting its people, heritage and the environment at the centre of development.

Charity Migwi worksfor Africa Regional Campaigner at 350.org.
Omar Elmawi, Coordinator of the #StopEACOP Campaign

PATRICK POUYANNÉ: We Are Fully Aware Of Social & Environmental Challenges Uganda Oil Projects Present

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, has promised that the lead joint venture partner in the development and eventual production of Uganda's oil and gas resources will use the Lake Albert Development Project as an exemplary project in terms of shared prosperity and sustainable development.

The Lake Albert Development Project has come under scrutiny from Civil Society Organizations who argue that the project possess risks to the environment and the social wellbeing of host communities not only in Uganda and Tanzania but also in DR Congo.

But Pouyanné is quelling these fears saying that TotalEnergies is committed to implementing action plans that will have a net positive impact on biodiversity as part of the implementation of these projects.

“We are fully aware of the important social and environmental challenges it represents. We will pay particular attention to use local skills, to develop them through training programs, to boost the local industrial sector in order to maximize the positive local return of this project," said Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies.

He added: "With today's signing of a framework agreement on renewable energy, we are laying the foundation to implement our multi-energy strategy in Uganda and contribute to people's access to energy."

TotalEnergies maintains that this oil development is in line with TotalEnergies' strategy of only approving new projects if they are low-cost and low emissions.

In particular, the design of the facilities incorporates several measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions well below 20 kg CO2eq/boe, including the extraction of Liquefied Petroleum Gas for use in regional markets as a substitute for burning biomass, and the solarization of the EACOP pipeline.

On 1st February, 2022 TotalEnergies and the energy ministry signed a MoU for the development of renewable energy with the objectives of developing 1GW of installed capacity, promoting access to electricity and clean energy, supporting national climate change objectives through the deployment of carbon footprint reduction projects.

Earlier, that day Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, the Vice-President of Tanzania, Patrick Pouyanné, representatives of China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Uganda National Oil Company and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation announced the final investment decision for the the Lake Albert Development Project.

The Lake Albert Development Project encompasses the Tilenga and Kingfisher upstream oil projects in Uganda and the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Uganda and Tanzania.

The Tilenga project, operated by TotalEnergies, and the Kingfisher project, operated by CNOOC, are expected to start producing in 2025 and to reach a cumulative plateau production of 230,000 barrels per day.

The upstream partners are TotalEnergies (56.67%), CNOOC (28.33%) and UNOC (15%).

Production from the oil fields in Uganda will be transported to the port of Tanga in Tanzania through the EACOP cross-border pipeline, whose shareholders are TotalEnergies (62%), UNOC (15%), TPDC (15%) and CNOOC (8%).

TotalEnergies says that all partners are committed to implementing these projects in an exemplary manner, taking into consideration the environmental and biodiversity stakes, as well as the rights of the concerned communities, in accordance with the stringent performance standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).  

CSOs Hope That TotalEnergies Will Take Concrete Measures To Stop Human Rights Violations In Uganda, Tanzania After Vital French Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court of France (the Court of Cassation) Wednesday issued a ruling that has re-energized Civil Society Organization (CSOs) that are de-campaigning projects TotalEnergies is undertaking in Uganda and Tanzania because the oil company failed to put in place adequate mitigation measures (due diligence) for its Tilenga and the East Africa Crude Oil Export Pipeline (EACOP) oil projects.

Six French and Ugandan civil society organizations - Friends of the Earth France, Survie, AFIEGO, CRED, NAPE and NAVODA – joined by ActionAid France, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Collectif Éthique sur l'étiquette -, and one trade union – CFDT ran to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal of Versailles in October remanded the case to the commercial court, a thing CSOs called a misinterpretation of French law, which leads to ignoring the central objective of this law.

In the latest ruling by the Supreme Court, the case will be heard by the civil court hence rejecting the jurisdiction of the commercial courts in this matter; the first legal action based on the law on the duty of vigilance of transnational corporations. The CSOs are suing the oil company for failing to operate in Uganda within the confines of the French Due Diligence law thereby violating environmental and human rights in the two East African countries.

According to the claimants, the Court of Appeal did not rule on the merits of the case, i.e. on whether or not TotalEnergies is complying with its vigilance duties. And with this fresh ruling by the Supreme Court, putting an end to a nearly two years long procedural battle, the CSOs are upbeat, describing the ruling as an important victory.

“By entrusting the case to the civil court, this decision makes it possible to fulfil the objectives of the law on the duty of vigilance. The purpose of this law is to hold companies liable for the impacts of their activities on third parties, such as employees of subsidiaries, suppliers and subcontractors, local communities and the environment,” the CSOs said in a press release.

Juliette Renaud, of Friends of the Earth France, said they are relieved by this decision of the Court of Cassation, however, they are concerned about the impact of the delays this procedural issue has caused because more than 100 000 people have been deprived of their land and livelihoods in Uganda and Tanzania. “Action is urgently needed, and we hope that the upcoming decision on the merits of the case will order Total to finally take concrete measures to stop these violations,” Renaud added.

Thomas Bart of Survie, said the decision is a first victory in the long legal battle they have launched against this transnational corporation.

“We will finally be able to focus on the substance of the case. Despite repeated warnings from civil society, the project continues at full speed without any concern for the repression of people on the ground,” Bart said.

He added: “our partners and community members who dare to raise their voices against this oil megaproject are subject to increasing intimidation, and arbitrary arrests are multiplying.”

TotalEnergies, alongside partners CNOOC, Uganda National Oil Company and the government of Uganda are chasing the production of Uganda petroleum resources and this ambition has reached the development phase and first oil is expected in 2025.

Uganda, with the technical and financial capabilities of the oil companies, TotalEnergies being the lead Joint Venture partner, commenced the processes to construct key infrastructure projects to facilitate the extraction of the countries hydrocarbons.

Construction of the airport in western Uganda commenced four years ago, next will be the refinery and its support infrastructures and the East African Crude Export Pipeline (EACOP) which will transport Uganda crude from western Uganda to the world through Tanga port in Tanzania. 

Uganda’s oil and gas reserves are in an environmentally sensitive area with rich biodiversity and a fragile ecosystem. This has got environment-friendly activists into action with many saying the projects in western Uganda must be cancelled or stopped. This has sometimes ended in courts of law.

TotalEnergies Completes Name Change In Uganda

The leading international oil company in Uganda, TotalEnergies, which in May this year rebranded from Total to TotalEnergies, has completed the renaming of it's affiliates in Uganda, Linda Nabirye, the External Communications Coordinator, said in an email to journalists.

"As you are aware TotalEnergies, our parent company changed its name on 28th May 2021. Subsequently, the Upstream and Midstream Ugandan affiliates have completed their change of names and these became effective 14th September 2021," Nabirye stated in the email.

She noted that Total E&P Uganda B.V now becomes TotalEnergies EP Uganda B.V. and Total East Africa Midstream B.V becomes TotalEnergies East Africa Midstream B.V. "Going forward, we encourage you to use the new names in your news coverage of our activities," she added.

The change of name from Total to TotalEnergies also had an impact on the company's visual identity - they also revealed a new logo and altered brand colors. This, the French company said the transformation anchors its strategic transformation into a broad energy company.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies said they are 'moving forward, together, towards new energies' because 'Energy is reinventing itself'.

"Our ambition is to be a world-class player in the energy transition. That is why Total is transforming and becoming TotalEnergies,” he declared.

 

 

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