KAMPALA —Uganda’s top business leaders have endorsed the East African Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.
The say, it would bolster the much sought-after social economic transformation in the country.
The businessmen, including Charles Mbire, Elly Karuhanga, Aga Ssekalala, Bob Kabonero and Badru Muwanga, said in a joint statement dated November 22 the project will improving the livelihoods of its citizens.
“We give our unreserved and wholehearted, support for the responsible development of the natural resources Uganda is endowed with, including the associated construction of EACOP pipeline and the Refinery. It is only through sustained economic development that Uganda will continue improving the livelihoods of its citizens,” the business leaders said in the joint statement.
The other businessmen who supported the project are Patrick Mweheire, Fabian Kasi, Japeth Katto, Jeff Baitwa, Geoffrey Rugazora, Kin Kariisa, Amos Nzeyi and Charles Hamya.
The others are Jimmy Mugerwa, Joseph Matsiko, Joseline Kateeba, Catherine Wabomba, Abdul M Kibuuka, Stephen Assimwe, David Otti and Jonan Kisakye.
Uganda has in the past two months been under pressure on the international scene after an EU Parliament resolution that said the country and Tanzania should stop oil and gas development projects in the East African region.
EU lawmakers cited major environmental and climate risks posed by Uganda, Tanzania and French oil company, Total, in developing the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). They said there should be an “end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems.”
Once completed, the Ugandan-Tanzania pipeline will be the world’s longest heated oil pipeline, stretching 1,443 kilometers (896 miles).
But Uganda’s business leaders in their statement insist that, “We have confidence and trust that these projects, will be executed in compliance with both the stringent regulatory and legal framework put in place and the highest international standards (IFC Performance Standards and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) as already committed by the Operators. It is our view that this will ensure the projects are carried out with proper respect for Human Rights, minimum environmental footprint, conservation of our biodiversity, and full and fair compensation for land.”
EACOP project starts at Hoima, close to Lake Albert, and cross Uganda – Tanzania border between Masaka and Bukoba, past Lake Victoria, following its western border, traversing Tanzania, passing close to Kahama, Singida, Kondoa, into Tanga.
Tilenga project comprises oil exploration, a crude oil processing plant, underground pipelines, and infrastructure in the Buliisa and Nwoya districts of Uganda.
The refinery will be built on a 29 square kilometre piece of land at Kabaale Township, Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima district, western region, near the international border with DR Congo, along eastern shores of Lake Albert
This will be close to Uganda’s largest oil fields at Kaiso-Tonya area, about 60 km by road, west of Hoima.
IMF was quoted in 2013 as saying the reserves are fourth-largest in sub Sahara Africa behind Nigeria, Angola and South Sudan.
Approximately 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil were discovered in 2006. Drilling will take place at two oil fields of Kingfisher field, operated by China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd (CNOOC Ltd), and Tilenga field operated by French multinational Total Energies.
Ownership of oil discovery includes TotalEnergies 56.67 per cent, China’s CNOOC Group 28.33 pc and Uganda government taking the remaining 15 per cent stake.
Extracted oil deposits will be partly refined in Uganda for local market supply but the lion share exported to international market through the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline.
Once completed, the facility will be the world’s longest heated pipeline.