EACOP WILL CONTRIBUTE IN MAKING ENERGY POVERTY HISTORY IN AFRICA BY 2030

EACOP WILL CONTRIBUTE IN MAKING ENERGY POVERTY HISTORY IN AFRICA BY 2030

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is a critical component of eradicating energy poverty in Africa by 2030. The pipeline will be critical for job creation, local community empowerment, and wider socioeconomic growth in addition to transporting much-needed oil across the region and improving energy security by connecting Uganda’s hydrocarbon-rich basins with both regional and international destinations. Despite its significance, western environmentalist groups are calling for the project’s cancellation, citing environmental concerns. But when do Africa’s energy needs and people’s well-being take precedence over sensationalist eco-socialism?

The 1,443km long EACOP, also known as the Uganda-Tanzania crude oil pipeline, will connect Tanzania’s Port of Tanga to Uganda’s oilfields. The pipeline will be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world when it is finished, with a daily capacity of about 216,000 barrels. It is expected to cost $3.5 billion. The pipeline is currently owned by TotalEnergies (62%), the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) (8%), the Uganda National Pipeline Company (15%), and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, with Standard Bank of South Africa providing advice to the governments of Uganda and Tanzania (15%).

The 1,443km EACOP was planned in 2006, following the completion of exploration by the CNOOC, TotalEnergies, and Tullow, which led to the finding of commercially viable volumes of oil in Uganda’s Lake Albert basin. The pipeline, which is a component of the larger Lake Albert Development Project, will deliver Ugandan oil to global markets, providing crucial income for the entire East African region. In February 2022, TotalEnergies, the project’s principal shareholder, triumphantly announced a $10 billion final investment decision, launching construction and ushering in a new age of energy security for the area.

The pipeline is seen as Africa’s answer to overcoming energy poverty and fostering socio-economic development by empowering local populations. The pipeline is anticipated to generate thousands of high-paying jobs during the building phase alone, as well as the major potential for regional businesses like contractors. In addition, a 60 percent boost in foreign direct investment is anticipated for Tanzania and Uganda, with more growth anticipated as the project advances. Construction is crucial for advancing development in Africa because it creates long-term jobs, ensures energy security, and has wider economic advantages. In other words, Africa will continue to be energy-poor if EACOP fails.

“Ugandans and Tanzanians should not have to pay the price for western, developed nations. It makes no sense to oppose the construction of the pipeline. If EACOP fails, there will be no guarantee of employment, with a lot of the population remaining energy-poor for years to come, and investment directed towards East African exploration will dry up. Africa does not deserve this. Africa deserves the rights to develop its resources and that includes the EACOP,” the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC), NJ Ayuk stated.

Climate activists’ appeal to #StopEACOP is harmful to the well-being of the local population as well as the future of electricity in East Africa. In addition to opposing the project’s development and operation, campaigners are also working to stop it from being funded; 20 major banks have already been persuaded not to do so. Project developers are resolute in the face of these assaults and understand the importance of the pipeline.

Ayuk continued, “TotalEnergies and partners have been very proactive and have invested a lot in building relationships at the community level. They have a strong track record of robust environmental management and social engagement, and it gives the AEC comfort to back this project without hesitation. Citizens of Uganda and Tanzania are already benefiting from local content programs and community workshops, training programs, and investments in local communities. This should not be stopped by zealots who believe that Uganda, a country that has one of the lowest greenhouse gas footprints, should be punished and foot the bill for the wealthy nations that are now using coal to power their industries and homes.”

He added, “We are concerned that some want Ugandans and Africans to leave oil and gas in the ground while they are spending billions to fire up coal plants. Energy poverty is real. We are going to make EACOP a big part of the discussions during African Energy Week (AEW). We will push for African suppliers to sign Joint Ventures with Ugandans and grow together, using this project to promote intra-Africa trade and collaboration as envisioned by the AfCFTA.”

Furthermore, Ugandans have a strategy for using the money properly, and they should have the freedom to discuss it inside their cultures without intervention or criticism from outsiders. Building schools, hospitals, and modern infrastructure with EACOP revenue will help Ugandans bridge the gap between struggle and success. EACOP revenue will also be used to develop other energy projects like renewables. For this pipeline, TotalEnergies has proposed a secure and environmentally responsible strategy. When it comes to this initiative, the vast majority of Ugandans, Tanzanians, and Africans are steadfast in their support of EACOP, TotalEnergies, and its partners. The project is anticipated to benefit Ugandans and Tanzanians significantly, bringing with it steady socio-economic growth, a smaller environmental impact, and a reduction in the risk connected with oil transportation.

Ayuk concluded, “Local communities and everyday people always struggle to make financial ends meet in Uganda and Tanzania. I believe TotalEnergies and EACOP is a Godsend. Income and opportunity already coming into families and communities will backfill many of the shortages that exist. Stop disrupting Africa’s development and let’s use the EACOP and every other oil and gas project on the continent to drive Africa into a new era of energy and economic success.”

ENERGY GHANA MAGAZINE

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