Anxiety as Total E&P suspends oil pipeline development

Civil Society Organizations in the Albertine oil Graben are concerned about the suspension of activities on the development of the East African Crude Oil pipeline by Total E&P.

Total E&P suspended all activities on the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline on September 5.  It stemmed from the decision of Tullow on August 29, 2019 to terminate its farm-down deal with Total E&P and CNOOC over the capital gains tax dispute with government.

The EACOP project is one of the midstream commercialization projects for Uganda’s oil and gas industry. Once built, it will be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world, at 1,443km, running from Kabaale in Hoima district to Tanga port in Tanzania.
The pipeline will traverse the districts of Hoima,Kikuube, Kyankwanzi,, Sebambule, Kyotera, Rakia, Gomba,, Lwngo, Kakumiro, Mubende and Kyotera.  Dickens Amanya, the Coordinator Bunyoro Albertine Petroleum Network on Environment Coalition (PAPENECO), says they are getting concerned because there is no official statement from government regarding the matter since Total E& P announced the suspension.

He says besides that the Project Affected Persons were not fully compensated for their property and land affected by the project yet they were stopped from utilizing it. Amanya also notes that there is no proper mitigation plan for environmental conservation among others.
Jenipher Baitwamasa from Navigators of Development Association (NAVODA) says the suspension of activities on the East African Crude Oil pipeline has greatly affected the compensation of PAPs.
Sandra Atusinguza of the African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), says many people have been waiting for compensation and are now stranded following of the activities on the EACOP. Atusinguza faults government for remaining silent on the project by not availing the public with first-hand information on what is happening.

Hoima deputy chief administrative officer, Hannington Asaba, blamed the government’s poor communication strategy that has kept the population in the dark without timely information regarding the oil and gas sector.

Daniel Kasuuti from the Petroleum Authority of Uganda says although major operations are minimal, there is some ongoing works. He challenged civil society Organizations to sensitize the public on the requirements for one to benefit from the oil sector.

Government during the EACOP public hearing recently in Kakumiro district reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project comes to fruition despite recent challenges.

The assurance was given by Minerals State Minister, Peter Lokeris at the opening of a public hearing into the Environment Social Impact Assessment for the longest heated crude oil pipeline.

He dispelled fears from sections of the public and players in the oil and gas industry that the pipeline project had stalled following the collapse of the Tullow-Total farm down deal.