What you need to know:
- When the EU decided to boycott the oil pipeline project on claims of environmental concerns and disregard for human rights, shockwaves were sent across the East African region, specifically in Tanzania and Uganda – the principle partners in this mega-project.
If we are to take one thing from the current fuss about the crude oil project between Tanzania and Uganda, is that there will be rallying support for causes seen to be beneficial to the region.
The overwhelming support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project which has come in quick succession and immediately after the resolution by the European Parliament signifies a united approach for a common goal.
When the EU decided to boycott the oil pipeline project on claims of environmental concerns and disregard for human rights, shockwaves were sent across the East African region, specifically in Tanzania and Uganda – the principle partners in this mega-project.
What that resolution meant, coming at the final stage of contractual agreements (Host government agreement), is that the project value at $4 billion had run into one of its biggest obstacles thus far. The EU Parliament is a body vested with a plethora of duties. Even though their resolution isn’t legally binding, the global influence the body possesses is enough to send jitters down the spines of interested parties in this project.
Contrary to expectations, the reaction from Uganda, which came promptly after the resolution exuded confidence that the project would proceed undeterred. The country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, backed by the parliament was unequivocal in his response to the EU. Tanzania through the Ministry of Energy echoed the same sentiments, albeit in a somewhat less vexed tone. Immediately after the two principal parties came to the defense of the project, we saw other groups and individuals rallying behind them. The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Peter Mathuki tweeted that the project is important to the region, and expressed his support for the ongoing construction of what is slated to become a game changer in the energy sector in the region.
The support didn’t end there, as key regional players and other stakeholders continued to debate on whether the mega EACOP project should see the light of day, the major investors, TotalEnergies and CNOOC came forth to add weight to the proponents of the project.
The support from French firm TotalEnergies has come irrespective of the fact that the EU Parliament had summoned the company’s CEO to appear before its committee and respond to the concerns raised which would either make or break the project. By standing firm despite the growing pressure, TotalEnergies gave the project a new lease on life.
As hopes were still being gathered and momentum slowly catching steam, another big investor, China’s CNOOC International that owns a stake in the project gave another boost to the EACOP by saying that implementation would proceed as planned. With this support, the project has the financial muscle required. CNOOC’s support came amid worries that should Total Energies pull out of the deal, then that would mark the end of the project.
Through striving and working together, Tanzania and Uganda are almost assured the project will go on as initially planned. As the Ambassador of the EU delegation to Tanzania and the EAC, Mr Manfredo Fanti said during a recent interview; Tanzania and the entire world need as much energy as possible to meet the demand and shortfall caused by global disruptions.