In recent news, Uganda is in discussions with Chinese financiers to secure funding for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project. This initiative, led by French energy company TotalEnergies, aims to develop oilfields in Uganda and transport the crude oil through a 1,445-kilometer pipeline to a Tanzanian port on the Indian Ocean. The total project cost is estimated at $10 billion.
Uganda’s negotiations with Chinese financiers come after some Western partners withdrew their support for the controversial pipeline project, which has faced opposition from human rights organizations and environmental activists. Critics argue that the project could harm fragile ecosystems and the livelihoods of local communities.
Irene Bateebe, the Permanent Secretary at Uganda’s energy ministry, revealed that they are in the final stages of discussions with Chinese partners to secure approximately half of the necessary finances for the EACOP construction. She anticipates concluding these arrangements in October.
TotalEnergies holds a 62 percent stake in the pipeline, while Ugandan and Tanzanian state-owned oil companies each have a 15 percent stake, and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation holds eight percent.
The Lake Albert region in northwestern Uganda is believed to contain approximately 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil, with 1.4 billion barrels considered recoverable. Uganda anticipates its first oil production in 2025, nearly two decades after the oil reserves were discovered. President Yoweri Museveni has hailed the project as an economic opportunity for the country, where many people live in poverty.