East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP)

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), also known as Uganda–Tanzania Crude Oil Pipeline or Hoima–Tanga Port Oil Pipeline, is a proposed oil pipeline in East Africa.[1]


The oil pipeline would start in Buseruka sub-county, Hoima District, in Uganda's Western Region. It would travel in a general south-easterly direction to pass through Masaka in Uganda, Bukoba in Tanzania, loop around the southern shores of Lake Victoria, continue through Shinyanga and Singida town, and end at the Port of Tanga, Tanzania, for export from the Indian Ocean.[2] Eighty percent of the pipeline would run through Tanzania.[3]

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Project details

  • Operator: TotalEnergies SE and CNOOC Ltd[4][5]
  • Owner: East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Ltd[6]
  • Parent: TotalEnergies SE [62%]; Uganda National Oil Corporation (UNOC) [15%]; and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) [15%]; CNOOC Limited [8%][4][5]
  • Capacity: 246,000 barrels per day.[7]
  • Length: 1,444 kilometers.[8][9]
  • Cost: US$5 billion[10]
  • Financing: The project's Financial Advisors are Stanbic Bank of Uganda, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China[11]
  • FID status: Approved (2022)[12]
  • Status: Proposed[8][9]
  • Construction start year: Expected second half of 2022[13]; later revised to late 2023[14]
  • Start year: 2025[12]


The pipeline is intended to transport crude oil from Uganda's oil fields to the Port of Tanga, Tanzania on the Indian Ocean.[15] The pipeline was planned to have capacity of 216,000 barrels per day.[8][9]

Uganda previously agreed to build a joint Uganda–Kenya Crude Oil Pipeline (UKCOP) to the Lamu Port in Kenya.[16][17] Concerns regarding security and cost, however, reportedly motivated parallel negotiations with Tanzania regarding a shorter and safer route to Port Tanga, with the support of the French petroleum conglomerate Total SA.[18][19]

At the 13th Northern Corridor Heads of State Summit in Kampala in April 2016, Uganda officially announced its choice for the Tanzania route for its crude oil, in preference to the Mombasa or Lamu routes in Kenya.[20][21] At the same summit, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that Kenya would build the Kenya Crude Oil Pipeline on its own, thereby abandoning the Uganda–Kenya Crude Oil Pipeline (UKCOP).[22][23]

In July 2016, it was announced that construction of the pipeline would begin in January 2017 and last 36 months.[24] Completion of the pipeline was planned for 2020.[25] In August 2017, Ugandan President Museveni and Tanzanian President Magufuli laid a symbolic foundation stone for the project.[26]

In September 2019, TotalEnergies suspended all work on the pipeline construction following the collapse of a deal to buy a stake in Tullow Oil Plc’s oil fields in Uganda.[27] (Tullow's attempt to sell the stake in its Uganda fields was likely made under duress, as the firm's finances were collapsing in 2019–20 — a development which has also endangered the Lokichar–Lamu Oil Pipeline in Kenya.) According to a financial analyst, the Ugandan government had repeatedly stepped up borrowing to finance the project, despite the final investment decision (FID) being repeatedly pushed back; this fact had increased pressure on the Uganda Revenue Authority to win substantial capital gains tax revenues from Tullow's wind-down, thus leading to an impasse between the government and the firms backing the project. Ugandan president Museveni had also reportedly repeatedly pressed tough demands for the project's sponsors, such as also constructing a refinery (the country currently has no oil refineries). In November 2019, Ugandan government officials expressed confidence that the disagreements would be resolved.[28]

In April 2020, the Tullow wind-down impasse was resolved, with TotalEnergies reaching an agreement to buy out Tullow's shares in the Lake Albert project licenses for US$575 million, and also reaching a tax agreement with the Ugandan government. TotalEnergies stated at the time that the sale would allow them, together with CNOOC, to move forward towards FID on the pipeline project.[29][5] In May, Tanzania's Minister of Energy stated that construction was slated to begin in April 2021.[30] However, the construction schedule would seem to be dependent on the project's sponsors finally reaching FID.

In September 2020, the governments of Tanzania and Uganda signed an agreement on the pipeline's construction. The agreement followed quickly on from the signing of a Host Government Agreement between Uganda and TotalEnergies which protects the French company's rights and obligations in the pipeline’s construction and operation.[3] These agreements clear the path for the FID which the parties hope to reach before the end of 2020.[31]

In October 2020, an investigative report titled 'A Nightmare called Total' by the French chapter of Friends of the Earth and another NGO Survie, and based on collected testimonies and field surveys conducted in June and September 2020, alleged a humanitarian crisis which threatens more than 100,000 people is unfolding among Great Lakes communities affected by the development of EACOP.[32] The report was published ahead of an appeal court hearing in Paris at the end of October where the two French NGOs are seeking a court order requiring TotalEnergies to disclose how it is addressing the adverse impact of its activities, citing an obligation for the company to do so under France's 2017 Duty of Vigilance Act which applies to alleged abuses committed overseas by French companies.[33] The report lays the blame at a shoddy environmental and social impact assessment process where civil society was not effectively consulted, resulting in inadequate mitigation proposals, especially in Tanzania where existing laws do not embrace public participation. The report also criticises the decision by the Total-led consortium to opt for open-cut trenching to lay EACOP, the lowest-cost option but one with far greater environmental impact. Experts cited by the report argue that this pipelay method will destroy biomass within 30 metres on either side of the pipeline — double what industry says is best practice — while severely contaminating the air, flora and otherwise arable land. Moreover, the oil flow through EACOP will result in gas emissions releasing 34.3 million tonnes of CO2 per annum into the atmosphere between 2025 and 2029, according to the US-based non-profit environmental consultancy E-Tech.

In April 2021, the FID for the pipeline and the two upstream components, Tilenga and Kingfisher, was reached during a signing ceremony in the Ugandan town of Entebbe. In a press release, TotalEnergies noted: "These agreements open the way for the commencement of the Lake Albert development project. The main engineering, procurement and construction contracts will be awarded shortly, and construction will start. First oil export is planned in early 2025."[12] Reacting to the signing of the agreements, David Pred, of Inclusive Development International, told The Guardian: "The oil companies are trying to dress up the investment decision signing ceremony, but fortunately this climate-destroying project is far from a done deal. TotalEnergies and CNOOC still need to secure insurance and raise $2.5bn in debt financing for the EACOP to move forward and they are going to struggle mightily to find enough banks and insurance providers willing to associate themselves with such a project." TotalEnergies said it had undertaken "rigorous" environmental and social risk assessment and mitigation strategies in relation to the projects, and that financing efforts for the pipeline project would proceed in accordance with the Equator Principles, a risk-management framework adopted by financial institutions for assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects.[34]

By multiple accounts, "construction" on the pipeline seemed to have begun in early-to-mid-2021.[35][36] However, in an interview with the Daily Monitor, the general manager of East African Crude Oil Pipeline Limited, Marten Tiffen, noted actual construction would not begin until the second half of 2022.[13] The reports claiming construction began in 2021 likely identified the September 2021 date by which East African Crude Oil Pipeline Limited was intended to be operational, after which point land acquisition could begin.[13]

In February 2022, FID was announced from TotalEnergies, CNOOC, Uganda National Oil Corporation (UNOC), and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).[37][38]

In January 2023, Uganda reportedly approved EACOP Ltd's application to build the pipeline, with construction expected to start in late 2023.[14]


Critical independent review of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

In June 2019, the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) published an independent quality review of the Ugandan part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the project, following a request from the Ugandan National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).

The NCEA concluded that "the ESIA report does not yet provide enough information for sound decision making", citing exaggerated claims about jobs and other economic benefits; significant potential negative impacts to wetlands due to open trench water and wetland crossings; unsubstantiated claims of negligible impacts on land ownership, and; insufficient treatment of energy/CO2 impacts.[39]

Human Rights Impact Assessments

Published by Oxfam, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and partners on EACOP on the eve of the FID in September 2020, two community-based human rights impact assessments warned of the serious challenges and future risks linked to EACOP and associated oil extraction projects. Both reports offer community-driven recommendations urging the oil companies and governments involved to take urgent measures to avoid a human and environmental disaster.

'Empty Promises Down the Line? A Human Rights Impact Assessment of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline', authored by Oxfam, Global Rights Alert, the Civic Response on Environment and Development, and the Northern Coalition on Extractives and Environment, assesses the impacts of the EACOP pipeline.[40] The report concludes that neither the government of Uganda nor Tanzania appears to have adequately fulfilled their human rights obligations, and highlights that significant human rights and environmental risks remain and must be addressed.

'New Oil, Same Business? At a Crossroads to Avert Catastrophe in Uganda', authored by FIDH and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, reviews the past and present impacts of construction and exploration activities and future upstream oil extraction sites in Uganda.[41]

On 5 April 2023, the East African Court of Justice reserved judgment on a decision stemming from November 2020, when three organizations filed a case against the governments of Uganda and Tanzania and the Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) challenging EACOP's construction. The case contends that EACOP developers did not conduct proper human rights and climate impact assessments prior to the project's commencement.[42]

The ongoing impact that EACOP's development was having on livelihoods was reiterated by Human Rights Watch in July 2023.[43]

Arrest of environmental activists in Uganda

Six activists from the non-governmental organisation Africa Institute of Energy Governance (AFIEGO) were arrested and detained at a police station in Kampala on October 22, 2021. This followed earlier arrests that month of AFIEGO staff. Among the six arrested were a nursing mother and an ailing lady. AFIEGO has been vocal in advocating for the rights of communities affected by the Tilenga, East African Crude Oil Pipeline and oil refinery projects.[44] On October 25, the Stop EACOP campaign confirmed the release of the six activists more than 72 hours after they had been taken into police custody.[45]


As at August 2017, the list of potential equity partners includes:[4] (1) The government of Uganda, represented by Uganda National Oil Company, (2) the government of Tanzania, represented by the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, (3) Total SA, (4) Tullow Oil and (5) China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).[4] In May 2020, Tullow sold their interest in the project to Total.[5]

Cost and financing

The 1,444-kilometer planned pipeline was originally expected to be built at a budgeted cost of US$3.5 billion.[8][46] By 2022, the project cost was being widely reported to be US$5 billion.[10] Financing of the project would involve a debt-to-equity ratio of 60:40. For the debt component, the project is seeking a project finance loan of US$3 billion, with the remaining US$2 billion to be provided by the project's shareholders.[47]

Negotiations and the search for international lenders are ongoing. Uganda and Tanzania are being advised by Standard Bank of South Africa, while TotalEnergies is being advised by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. The London-based firm law firm Clifford Chance is advising TotalEnergies on legal matters, while CNOOC is being advised by the the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.[4] Standard Bank of South Africa and Sumitomo Mitsui are also understood to be acting as joint lead arrangers for the project loan.[48]

In April 2020, the African Development Bank (AfDB) publicly responded to a letter sent by a coalition of civil society organizations asking the bank not to fund the project. In its response, the AfDB denied that it ever considered funding the project.[49]

In March 2021, following advocacy efforts by 263 organizations from around the world, Barclays and Credit Suisse became the first major international commercial banks to confirm that they would not participate in the financing of the pipeline project. "Barclays does not intend to participate in the financing of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project," the UK bank said in its response to environmental and human rights organizations. Credit Suisse also confirmed it "is not considering participating in the EACOP project." The Stop EACOP coalition also commented that other banks such as United Overseas Bank (UOB) had also made statements indicating that they may not be involved in the project financing.[50] UK Export Finance, the UK's state-backed export credit agency, also confirmed that despite having been approached to support EACOP, it would not be doing so due to a new UK government policy to end subsidies for fossil fuel projects coming into effect on March 31, 2021.[51]

Reporting around the announcement of the project's FID in April 2021 noted that Uganda is working to finance its 15% stake in the pipeline, with the government hoping to raise US$130 million. These efforts were reported to be facing some objections from the national parliament.[52]

In April 2021, the Stop EACOP coalition confirmed that the Australian commercial bank ANZ had ruled out support for the project. According to an ANZ statement, the proposed project was "not in line with its regional presence and strategy."[53] The French business newspaper Les Echos also revealed that France's top three commercial banks, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, will not be providing finance for TotalEnergies' project. An anonymous source inside one of the institutions told the paper: "The decision has been taken, the project is too difficult to justify."[54] The Italian bank UniCredit has also confirmed to civil society group Re:Common that it will not be financing the pipeline, though the bank has declined to make a public comment.

In July 2021, the major French insurer Axa informed NGOs that it would not be getting involved in the project, stating that the "project is not compatible with [their] risk appetite and, more broadly, with [their] climate commitments."[55]

In September 2021, BankTrack disclosed that three more major banks – HSBC, Mizuho and the United Overseas Bank – had confirmed that they are not supporting the project.[56]

In May 2022, the Financial Times reported that TotalEnergies was planning to arrange project financing before the end of 2022 with a group of Western, Asian and African banks and, according to the company, that the project was on budget and on schedule for completion in 2025. The Financial Times and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism also revealed that the New York-based insurance broker Marsh McLennan is engaged in arranging insurance for EACOP in spite of a backlash from the company's employees who have formally warned Marsh's management of the "disastrous consequences" for the climate and the company's reputation if it proceeds with trying to arrange insurance cover.[10]

In September 2022, the Islamic Development Bank committed USD 100 billion to the project, and developers expected the rest of the financing to be in place by the end of November 2022 to insure a 2025 startup.[57]

Financial institutions which have confirmed they will not directly fund or insure the pipeline

The Stop EACOP coalition campaigns to prevent banks and insurance companies supporting EACOP. The coalition tracks which banks and insurers are on record as having ruled out direct financing[58] and insurance[59] for the project. As of May 2022, these are:

  • Absa Group
  • African Development Bank
  • Allianz
  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
  • Axa
  • Barclays
  • BNP Paribas
  • Crédit Agricole
  • Credit Suisse
  • First Rand
  • Hannover Re
  • HSBC
  • Investec
  • Mizuho
  • Munich Re
  • Nedbank
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Scor Se
  • Société Générale
  • Swiss Re
  • UK Export Finance
  • UniCredit
  • United Overseas Bank
  • Zurich

Articles and resources


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  44. "350Africa.org calls for the immediate and unconditional release of arrested environmental activists in Uganda", 350Africa.org press release, Oct. 24, 2021
  45. "Finally, our 6 colleagues have been released after spending more than 72 hours in police custody", Stop EACOP Twitter account, Oct. 25, 2021
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  52. Ed Reed, Total gives greenlight in Uganda, Energy Voice, Apr. 11, 2021
  53. Don't Bank on EACOP: Who's backing the pipeline and who's ruled it out?, Stop EACOP coalition
  54. Gabriel Nedelec, BNP, Société Générale et Crédit Agricole ne financeront pas le projet de Total en Ouganda, Les Echos, Apr. 21, 2021
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