EACOP

A risky oil pipeline that endangers East Africa

At a glance

  • Project Type

    Heated crude oil pipeline
  • Project Size

    1,443 km / 897 miles
    USD $5 billion investment

  • Project Status

    April 11, 2021: Uganda, Tanzania, TotalEnergies & CNOOC signed agreements to start construction
    February 1, 2022: TotalEnergies and partners announced their Final Investment Decision (FID), representing a total investment of approximately USD $10 billion.
    First oil exports planned for early 2025

  • Location

    Begins in Kabaale, Hoima in Uganda. Travels south through Lake Victoria into Tanzania Ends at the northeastern Chongoleani peninsula, near Tanga
  • Owner/Builder

    Shareholders:
    TotalEnergies (France) – 62%
    China National Offshore Oil Company Limited (CNOOC) – 8%
    Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) – 15%
    Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) – 15%

Local communities & traditional territories

Vulnerable communities:
Barbaig, Sandawe, Ndorobo, Maasai, Akie, Taturu, Bangugu Indigenous tribes
Uganda: pipeline would cut through 178 villages
Tanzania: would run through 231 villages

In 2006, Uganda discovered huge crude oil reserves near Lake Albert, along the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now, global fossil fuel giants plan to invest USD $230 billion over the next decade to develop new extraction projects in Africa. By 2050, that number could reach a staggering $1.4 trillion.

First on the table is the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The proposed line would run from Kabaale, Uganda to the northeastern coast of Tanzania. The project includes plans to drill 130 oil wells in Murchison Falls National Park and to develop oil fields on the shores of Lake Albert. It would also displace about 118,000 people across Uganda and Tanzania, endanger the region’s unique ecosystems, and threaten wetlands, wildlife, and fresh water sources that support millions of Africans. If we hope to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we can’t develop any new oil and gas fields — in Africa, or anywhere.

Propped up by major North American pension funds

Many of North America’s largest pension funds invest in TotalEnergies, the French oil company with a 62% stake in EACOP, China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), and their subsidiaries. These funds include:

These pension funds include:

New Jersey Pension Funds (NJ)
TOTALENERGIES SE
Publicly Traded Holdings
$67,540,839
TOTAL ENERGY SERVICES INC
Publicly Traded Holdings
$13,411
Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC)
OFFSHORE OIL ENGINEERING CO LT
Public Equities
$94,019
CNOOC LTD
Public Equities
$5,248,755
TOTALENERGIES SE
Public Equities
$30,458,113
TOTALENERGIES CAPITAL INTERNAT
Fixed Income Securities
$16,162,461
TOTALENERGIES CAPITAL CANADA L
Fixed Income Securities
$10,474,016
Minnesota State Board of Investment (MSBI)
OFFSHORE OIL ENGINEERING A
Equity
$142,771
CNOOC LTD
Equity
$20,676,789
CNOOC FINANCE 2015 US
Fixed Income
$4,074,563
CNOOC FINANCE 2013 LTD
Fixed Income
$1,988,692
Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT)
CNOOC LTD
International Equity
$21,805,608
CNOOC FINANCE 2013 LTD
International Fixed Income
$1,669,152
CNOOC FINANCE 2015 USA LLC
Domestic Fixed Income
$581,705
NEXEN INC
International Fixed Income
$494,480
Washington State Investment Board (WSIB)
CNOOC LTD
Retirement Funds
$5,023,075
CNOOC LTD
GET Funds
$199,324
Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA)
CNOOC LTD HKD0.02
Equity
$3,969,726
TOTAL ENERGY SVC I COM NPV
Equity
$258,739
Alaska Retirement Management Board (ARMB)
CNOOC ENERGY TECHNOLOGY + A
Equity
$637,815
TOTAL ENERGY SERVICES INC
Public Equities
$131,620
Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF)
TOTALENERGIES CAPITAL INTERNAT
Fixed Income Securities
$384,039
California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS)
CNOOC ENERGY TECHNOLOGY + A
International Equity
$290,596
TOTALENERGIES SE
International Equity
$248,316,160
TOTALENERGIES CAP INTL
Corporate Bonds
$52,165,700
CNOOC ENERGY TECHNOLOGY + A
International Equity
$2,260,000
TOTALENERGIES SE
International Equity
$143,426,000
TOTALENERGIES CAP INTL
Debt Securities
$425,000
CNOOC ENERGY TECHNOLOGY + A
International Equity
$191,628
OFFSHORE OIL ENGINEERING A
International Equity
$249,578
New York State Teachers' Retirement System (NYSTRS)
CNOOC ENERGY TECHNOLOGY + A
Global Equity Holdings
$685,332
OFFSHORE OIL ENGINEERING A
Global Equity Holdings
$354,284
TOTALENERGIES SE
Global Equity Holdings
$108,582,770
TOTALENERGIES SE
Global Fixed Income Holdings
$1,578,716
TOTALENERGIES SE SPON ADR
Global Equity Holdings
$5,857,586
TOTALENERGIES SE SPON ADR
Domestic Equity Holdings
$4,785,329
TOTALENERGIES CAPITAL SA
Domestic Fixed Income Holdings
$10,390,479
TOTALENERGIES CAP INTL
Domestic Fixed Income Holdings
$10,169,693
OFFSHORE OIL ENGINEERING A
Global Equity Holdings
$360,231
TOTALENERGIES SE
Global Equity Holdings
$56,565,929
TOTALENERGIES CA
Domestic Fixed Income Holdings
$11,463,381
TOTALENERGIES CAPITAL
Domestic Fixed Income Holdings
$10,766,352
TOTALENERGIES SE SPON ADR
Domestic Equity Holdings
$1,750,838
State of Wisconsin Investment Board
TOTALENERGIES SE
Equities
$113,713,748
CNOOC FINANCE 2013 LTD
Fixed Income
$3,693,652
CNOOC PETROLEUM NORTH AMERICA
Fixed Income
$1,613,053
CNOOC FINANCE 2015 USA LLC
Fixed Income
$1,613,053
CNOOC LTD
Equities
$864,081
CNOOC FINANCE 2014 ULC
Fixed Income
$623,233
Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (OPERF)
TOTALENERGIES SE
Public Equity
$23,353,010
TOTALENERGIES SE
Fixed Income
$545,657
TOTALENERGIES CAPITAL
Fixed Income
$730,287
CNOOC LTD
Public Equity
$4,180,175
KAISER PERMANENTE GROUP TRUST
CNOOC PETROLEUM NORTH COMPANY
Corporate Debs Instruments
$9,565,893
CNOOC LTD
Common and Preferred Stocks
$1,027,851
CNOOC FINANCE 2014 ULC COMPANY
Corporate Debt Instruments
$616,331
Total
$1,024,243,553

As Eastern Africa faces environmental degradation, widespread community displacement, and climate injustice, North American investors watch their holdings rise. This is corporate colonialism in action. To put it in context, from 2016-2019, the world’s G20 countries provided $47 billion in public financing for fossil fuels in Africa. That’s 3.7 times the amount invested in renewable energy sources.

As the world transitions from fossil fuels, locking in projects like EACOP endangers the African economy. The continent holds 39% of the world’s total renewable energy potential; continued oil and gas development undermines Africa’s ability to maximize solar and wind resources, while increasing the risk of stranding billions in carbon assets.

Unacceptable emissions and stranded carbon assets

EACOP is incompatible with a safe climate future. Based on the fuel density of the EACOP crude blend, indirect emissions from the project would be at least 34.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year. That’s more than the combined annual emissions of both Uganda and Tanzania.

Uganda’s crude oil is naturally viscous and waxy, so it needs to be heated to a minimum of 50 degrees Celsius for transport. The EACOP project would require electric heating along the entire 1443-km route — creating the world’s longest heated pipeline. At peak production the line would carry 216,000 barrels of crude oil per day (10.9 million metric tons per year).

If EACOP is completed, two oil fields in Uganda’s Albertine Graben, in the basin of Lake Albert, will also start commercial production. “The EACOP and Lake Albert oil projects would block the IEA’s net zero pathway before the ink is even dry on their report,” says David Pred, executive director of Inclusive Development International.

“That EACOP will spur economic growth for Tanzania and Uganda is nothing but a facade. From the agreements signed between the governments of Uganda and Tanzania and the oil Barons (TotalEnergies and China National Offshore Oil Company) this pipeline and associated oil projects are a classical example of corporate colonialism where the 2 countries are robbed of the oil as most, if not all, of the profits go to the two companies while the two countries pay the environmental, health and climate price from the project,” says Omar Elmawi, the coordinator of the #StopEACOP coalition.

Corporate colonialism and climate injustice in East Africa

Behind the EACOP statistics are real people – millions whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by this deeply flawed project. The pipeline would run through the basin of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake), which over 40 million people rely on for fresh water and food production.

Approximately 118,000 individuals in Uganda and Tanzania would also be uprooted and lose their land. Community members have already described a land acquisition process marked by confusion, assessment and valuation shortcomings, delayed compensation, and a lack of transparency. Many farming families have already faced restricted access to their land, including being prevented from growing food and cash crops, for over two years while awaiting compensation. This has led to increased impoverishment and food insecurity, among other cumulative impacts. For Indigenous tribes that depend on agriculture, fishing, and hunting for their physical and cultural ways of life, the pipeline would rupture their ancient connections to nature.

EACOP proponents suggest that the project will energize local economies, while building energy capacity in eastern Africa. However, 83% of the proposed LNG terminal capacity and 77% of the proposed oil and gas pipeline projects in Africa are intended for overseas export, rather than addressing local energy access gaps. In contrast, renewable energy creates 2-5 times more jobs than fossil fuels, per dollar invested. Green investments such as climate adaptation, public transit, conservation agriculture, and energy-efficient building retrofits provide five to 25 times more jobs than fossil fuel extraction and export projects.

Threatening fresh water sources across the region

The pipeline would cross ecologically sensitive rivers and streams, with approximately 460 km running through the Lake Victoria basin. The route also overlaps several wildlife habitats, including reserves for elephants, lions, chimpanzees, hippos, giraffes, zebras, and other protected species. From the mangroves on the coast of Tanzania to Murchison National Falls and beyond, a single spill would have devastating effects on the biodiversity, wetlands, and ecological health and prosperity of this region.

Pipeline failure risks are further deepened by EACOP’s planned route through the Rift Valley, which is one of the world’s most geologically active regions. In the past 20 years, more than 300 seismic events with a magnitude over 4.5 were registered in this area.

EACOP proponents suggest that the project will energize local economies, while building energy capacity in eastern Africa. However, 83% of the proposed LNG terminal capacity and 77% of the proposed oil and gas pipeline projects in Africa are intended for overseas export, rather than addressing local energy access gaps. In contrast, renewable energy creates 2-5 times more jobs than fossil fuels, per dollar invested. Green investments such as climate adaptation, public transit, conservation agriculture, and energy-efficient building retrofits provide five to 25 times more jobs than fossil fuel extraction and export projects.

We all must stop EACOP

EACOP is facing increasing resistance from individuals, NGOs, journalists, shareholders, leaders, and financial institutions. Over a million people have signed a global petition calling on project backers to cancel the project. A growing list of multinational commercial insurance companies and some of the world’s largest commercial banks — including Barclays, HSBC, ANZ, Credit Suisse, and more – have ruled out financial support for EACOP. Dutch asset manager ACTIAM also confirmed that it pulled its nearly $4 million in holdings from TotalEnergies and placed the French oil company on an exclusion list, due to concerns about EACOP. “TotalEnergies used to be our favourite company in the sector,” ACTIAM’s Dennis van der Putten told The Guardian in April. “It’s with pain in our heart that we decided to exclude them. But we had to do it, from our sustainability point of view.

Now we’re calling on North American pension funds to divest from TotalEnergies and CNOOC, and their partners and subsidiaries.

These funds need to move the millions they invest in destructive fossil fuel projects like EACOP and support a swift, just transition to clean energy projects and infrastructure. The time is now. And the stakes have never been higher.

This information/report has been prepared using best practices and due diligence using information available at the date of publication. All information is subject to change. All data is obtained from public or government sources including but not limited to customs data, company websites, annual reports. If you represent a company/government/NGO that appears in this Case Study that you believe is not accurate supplemental information can be sent to SRG@Stand.earth.

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