East Africa oil pipeline project runs into legal dispute

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East Africa oil pipeline project runs into legal dispute
[IMAGE/COURTESY]

East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project has run into legal challenges after four Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) moved to the East African Court of Justice to challenge the construction of the Pipeline by Uganda and Tanzania.

The four NGOs bases in Kampala, Nairobi and Zanzibar are seeking the stoppage of the construction of the pipeline until the matter is deliberated and determined.

The NGOs are seeking a permanent injunction against Uganda, Tanzania and the EAC from constructing the pipeline through protected areas, among other orders.

READ: East Africa oil pipeline agreement signed

In July, Tanzania announced that it had allocated about US $430 000 from its 2020/21 budget to fast track deliberations on four key areas and compensations for the implementation of the project.

The focus areas that were to be settled before the commencement of the construction in April 2021 included the completion of the host government agreements (HGA), shareholders’ agreement (SHA), land lease agreement (LLA), the port agreement (PA) and the compensation for the affected people whose lands the project will pass through.

The NGOs are seeking orders on climate change impact assessment; Human rights impact assessment; and meaningful, effective and transparent public consultations and participation.

According to the NGOs, an environmental and social impact assessment has not been conducted on the EACOP project as stipulated in both the EAC Treaty and other international laws.

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In September, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his Tanzanian counterpart, President Pombe Maghufuli attended the Host Government Agreement (HGA) signing ceremony between Uganda and French oil firm Total, allowing for the construction of a 1,445 km East Africa Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

The ceremony, presided over by President Museveni, took place in the company of Total Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – Mr. Patrick Pouyanne.

According to Total, a similar HGA was to be concluded with the Government of Tanzania and the tendering process for all major engineering, procurement and construction contracts was to be completed.

The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline will transport crude oil from Hoima district in Uganda to Chongoleani in Tanga, Tanzania, and will be the World’s longest electrically heated crude oil pipeline. It will cost US $3.5 billion to complete the project.