This past week, our movement and coalition to #StopEACOP has celebrated some big victories – five banks including Deutsche Bank, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley, and some major insurance companies, all ruled out project funding for EACOP. This takes the number of banks that want nothing to do with the EACOP project loan to 20 and the number of insurers to eight. The list of banks rejecting the project includes seven of Total’s ten largest lenders.
If TotalEnergies, who is driving the EACOP project, was planning to ask for public finance on the pipeline, they will also have to look elsewhere. Thanks to our movement’s efforts, the company is $3 billion short of the money it needs for the pipeline – and they can’t build it if they don’t find enough money to pay for it.
This week the Italian Export Credit Agency (ECA) SACE turned down an application to support the project. ECAs from the UK and Germany have also ruled out support for EACOP, while French President Emmanuel Macron told activists last week that he would stop any remaining public finance to EACOP.
The news of the US banks’ rejection of the EACOP project loan came as the Financial Times revealed, together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, that USA firm Marsh McLennan is arranging the insurance coverage for EACOP, despite protests from more than 100 of its staff citing the “disastrous consequences” for the climate and the company’s reputation.
Should the pipeline be completed, it will pump up to 34 million of carbon dioxide equivalent per year at peak production – more than double the current emissions of Uganda and Tanzania. The full value chain emission estimates over the EACOP’s 25-year lifetime are 377.6 million metric tonnes.
The pipeline also forces resettlements and impacts the human rights of over 100,000 people and puts in jeopardy wildlife, forests and water resources including more than 200 rivers, and Africa’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria, which supports over 40 million people. The horrendous impacts this project has thrust upon people of affected areas was visually detailed in an immaculately researched article in the German Tagesspiegel.
Despite all these impacts, even the economic benefits of the pipeline to Uganda and Tanzania are minimal at best since TotalEnergies and China National Offshore Oil Company together own 70% of the shares while Uganda and Tanzania keep 15% each – this makes them tiny minority shareholders of a resource that comes from their region.
Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that the two countries have passed laws that, among other things, give the project developers a ten-year corporate tax holiday (on a tax which is normally set at 30% of the profits made) and a withholding tax of 5% (as opposed to 15% as required by law). The project developers also are exempted from any VAT deductions of materials and equipment that will be imported for the project.
350.org and climate activists across the world are keeping up the pressure. On May 23 a mock trial of Total was held in France. Two days before its general assembly, the street-theater style trial highlighted Total’s contribution to climate chaos, and showcased testimony of victims from all over the world. Building on this, French climate activists and Fridays for Future put out a radical WTF Twitter video calling for action, and successfully blockaded the Total annual meeting on May 25, preventing delegates from attending.
We call on all climate activists across to support our fellow activists in Uganda and Tanzania, and fight to #StopEACOP until the project is terminated. Then we can all move onto creating better energy solutions to solve the climate crisis.
Media contacts: Omar Elmawi, #StopEACOP Coordinator, [email protected]
- The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) will be more than 1,400 km long – the distance between Paris and Rome – and would run alongside Lake Victoria basin, which is the continent’s largest freshwater reserve and the source of the Nile, between Uganda and Tanzania.
- The oil would be heated permanently to 50°C to keep it fluid and transport it to the port of Tanga, in Tanzania, and into international shipping tankers.
- This pipeline would transport 200,000 barrels of oil per day and generate up to 34 million tons of carbon emissions each year – seven times what Uganda emits each year.
- More than 100,000 people are being forced off their land and expropriated without fair compensation nor their free prior and informed consent being given.
- The project risks poisoning the water resources and wetlands of Uganda and Tanzania, including the Lake Victoria Basin, on which more than 40 million people depend for drinking water, food production and their livelihoods.
- This will violate a multitude of human rights: the right to property, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to food, the right to education, the right to health, the right to adequate housing, the right to life and safety, the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association, and the right to free, prior and informed consent.
- There are threats, harassment, intimidation, attacks, arrests and imprisonment of environmental, human rights and journalistic defenders.