East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline Construction Progresses Despite Challenges, Uganda Says

The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline faces legal challenges, but Uganda remains committed to the project, balancing economic development and environmental concerns in a "just energy transition."

Quadri Adejumo
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East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline Construction Progresses Despite Challenges, Uganda Says

East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline Construction Progresses Despite Challenges, Uganda Says

The construction plans for the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) are progressing despite legal challenges, according to the Ugandan government. The 1,443-kilometer pipeline aims to transport crude oil from Uganda's Albertine Graben region to international markets via a terminal in Tanga, Tanzania, spanning 10 districts in Uganda and 24 in Tanzania.

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda reports that 92% of affected individuals have received compensation for the project. However, some are contesting the compensation in court, raising concerns about potential delays if legal disputes favor affected communities. Land acquisition and compensation pose substantial challenges, with 12,435 acres acquired so far and 3,660 people affected, of which 2,740 are in Uganda.

While 95% of landowners have allowed access and 93% have been compensated, some claimants have rejected compensation offers and resorted to legal action. Teddy Nakintu, a 79-year-old resident of Lwengo district, received 9.5 million Shillings for her 0.04-hectare land, but the compensation has not adequately restored her livelihood as her coffee and banana plantation was divided. Kasimu Katoogo, another affected person, expressed psychological distress due to the pipeline crossing through their compound, with most of the 8.7 million shillings compensation going to medical expenses.

Environmentalists have also voiced concerns about ecosystem disruptions and carbon emissions associated with the project. Despite these challenges, the Ugandan government remains committed to the success of the EACOP, with 300 kilometers of pipes already in the country and preparations for storage yards underway.

Why this matters: The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline is a significant infrastructure project that could have major economic implications for Uganda and the region. The progress and challenges faced in its construction highlight the complex interplay between energy development, environmental concerns, and the rights of affected communities.

The Ugandan government and its partners are determined to responsibly proceed with oil and gas extraction from the Kingfisher and Tilenga project areas, exporting part of it via the EACOP and refining the rest domestically and regionally. Construction work has commenced, with significant investments made in 2022 and 2023, and activity is expected to peak in 2024 and 2025. While acknowledging the global push for energy transition, the government advocates for a "just energy transition" that balances economic development and energy security with environmental concerns.

Key Takeaways

  • EACOP pipeline construction progressing despite legal challenges
  • 92% of affected individuals compensated, some contest in court
  • Land acquisition and compensation pose substantial challenges
  • Environmentalists voice concerns about ecosystem disruption and emissions
  • Uganda committed to oil/gas extraction and EACOP, advocates "just energy transition"