When oil or minerals are mined in Africa, the locals never benefit, but only the rich banks and investors. In many cases, mining will destroy water resources as well as local nature. Such a scenario now threatens Uganda. A new project from French fossil fuel company TotalEnergies and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) would turn Uganda into an oil-producing country. The companies would spend more than $ 10 billion to develop oil fields in Uganda and build a pipeline network both within the landlocked country and through Tanzania, which has a coastline.

A crazy project that won’t do any good

“In the name of the joint venture partners and… TotalEnergies, I declare the final investment decision for the Lake Albert development project,” TotalEnergies Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said when he announced the deal, as Reuters reported.

Where will oil be extracted? The project would exploit oil reserves underneath Lake Albert, which sits between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, AllAfrica reported. Oil reserves in the area have been known for a long time. They were first discovered in 2006. They have not yet been made available because there is not enough infrastructure and because the Ugandan government has not reached an agreement with the oil companies.

“This milestone puts us on the path to first oil in 2025,” Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu said in a speech now that the deal has finally been signed, as AllAfrica reported.

In order to access the oil, it is necessary to build a pipeline that will be 1443 kilometers long. This pipeline must be heated and would run from Hoima, Uganda, to the Tanzanian port of Tang in the Indian Ocean. If the project is implemented, the largest heated oil pipeline in the world will be created. It will be called the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

Lake Albert, Uganda

Climate activists do not agree with the project

“The future of East Africa relies on building sustainable, diversified and inclusive economies – not by letting huge multinational corporations like Total extract resources and keep the profit,” 350Africa.org regional director Landry Ninteretse said in a statement reported by 350.org. “The impacts of building the East Africa Oil Pipeline will be devastating for our communities, for wildlife and for the planet.”

Large mining projects in Africa never take local people into account. Profit always comes first. Endangering people’s lives and destroying natural resources are often ignored by wealthy investors. The project would disrupt the fragile ecosystems in Uganda and Tanzania, where people are dependent on water resources that would be disrupted by mining. These are not small oil reserves, with an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of oil. Indeed, it is possible to extract about 1.4 billion barrels.

Activists argue that the funding for the pipeline is not secure, according to 350.org. Activists are trying to persuade banks not to finance the project. The project is currently missing at least $ 2.5 billion.

“The people benefitting from this aren’t local communities, they are rich European banks and oil companies like Total,” 350.org France campaigner Isabelle l’Héritier said in a statement reported by 350.org. “Over 260 organizations are urgently trying to convince banks around the world to rule out supporting this disastrous project. Eleven banks, including three French banks, have already pulled out.”

Renewable resources?

Total pretends to be a considerate and environmentally friendly company striving to achieve zero emissions by 2050. But what is the reality? The new project shows that it is still investing in new fossil fuel extraction. Interestingly, the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ugandan government that they will work to develop renewable energy sources.

This means working on solar, branch and other renewable energy sources. Oil is definitely not renewable energy. It is necessary to monitor this project and do everything possible to prevent oil production. Something like this would have far-reaching consequences.


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