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Faith Nyasuguta 

A new analysis has shown that an oil pipeline under construction in east Africa will produce huge amounts of carbon dioxide.

The project is set to result in 379m tonnes of climate-heating pollution, according to an expert assessment. This is over 25 times the combined annual emissions of Uganda and Tanzania, the host nations.

The East African crude oil pipeline (EACOP) will transport oil drilled in a biodiverse national park in Uganda over 870 miles to a port in Tanzania for export. 

The major backers of the multibillion dollar project are the French oil company Total Energies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

Environmental assessments by the pipeline consortium were given a nod by the host nations, but only the construction and operation of the pipeline were considered.

The pipeline will transport drilled oil for upto 870 miles /Chimpsreports/

The new analysis, by the Climate Accountability Institute (CAI), found that construction and operation contributed only 1.8% of the full emissions of the project when taking into account overseas transport, refining and burning of the 848m barrels of oil by end users.

It only considered the 25-year lifespan of the project and refining in Europe and China. In the years of peak oil flow, the associated emissions would be more than twice those of Uganda and Tanzania in 2020.

Richard Heede, at CAI, said: “It is time for TotalEnergies to abandon the monstrous EACOP that promises to worsen the climate crisis, waste billions of dollars that could be used for good, bring mayhem to human settlements and wildlife along the pipeline’s path.”

Heede dubbed EACOP a “mid-sized carbon bomb”. In May, it was reported that the world’s biggest fossil fuel firms were quietly planning scores of carbon bomb oil and gas projects that would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits, with catastrophic global impacts.

The coordinator of the Stop EACOP campaign, Omar Elmawi, 

said: “EACOP and the associated oilfields in Uganda are a climate bomb that is being camouflaged us as an economic enabler to Uganda and Tanzania. It is for the benefit of people, nature and climate to stop this project.”

TotalEnergies said that, as a pipeline project, “EACOP is neither the legal owner of the oil nor is it the ultimate end user”. 

Total Energies are part of the projects backers /Energy Connects/

It said environmental assessments followed national regulations and that an updated analysis, including oil use, had been performed, but did not provide details.

CNOOC did not give a comment.

A number of financial institutions, including previous backers of TotalEnergies, have said they would not finance EACOP. These include 24 banks and 18 insurance companies.

Some African nations argue that they have the right to use fossil fuels to grow their economies, as rich western nations have done.

 In September, EU lawmakers called for EACOP to be stopped, prompting Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, to respond: “They are insufferable, so shallow, so egocentric, so wrong.”

The issue on Africa’s fossil fuels and the question of whether and how countries can exploit them, is likely to be a flashpoint at November’s Cop27 UN climate summit.

According to the International Energy Agency in 2021, no new oil and gas fields could be built if the world was to stay within safe limits of global heating.

/Biodiesel Magazine/

A fresh report this week found a “large consensus” across all published studies that developing new oil and gas fields was “incompatible” with the 1.5C climate target.

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Faith Nyasuguta

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