By Our Reporter
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop) project took a new twist on Monday when 263 non-governmental organisations sought to persuade at least 25 banks listed as potential financiers of the $3.5 billion development not to participate, citing environmental and social risks.
The NGOs in their letter to the lenders claimed the project would fuel climate change by transporting oil generating over 34 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
Under pressure to stop financing fossil fuels including coal projects, six banks that the pipeline’s lead investors – French oil major Total, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and the governments of Uganda and Tanzania – target as lenders, have reportedly indicated that they would not take part.
At 1,445 kilometres, the Eacop is slated to become the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline spanning Uganda and Tanzania, and posing immense threats to local communities, water supplies, and biodiversity in Uganda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya, the organisations said in their letter.
The pipeline will transport crude oil from Hoima district in western Uganda to Chongoleani in Tanga, the northeastern port city in Tanzania.
The letter is addressed to Sim Tshabalala, the CEO of Standard Bank of South Africa, and its Ugandan subsidiary Stanbic Bank Uganda boss Anne Juuko.