Stopping the Construction of EACOP Unjust – Uganda Energy Minister

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Africa’s energy transition cannot be expected to be achieved in the same manner and pace of that which its global counterparts are expected, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development of Uganda stated during a ministerial conversation with Paul Wallace, Team Leader at Bloomberg on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.

During the conversation, Hon. Ssentamu emphasized that for Uganda, developing the country’s oil resources – and specifically the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) – will not only ensure long-term and sustainable growth on the back of energy security and revenue generation but will essentially enable the population to stop relying on biomass, resulting in the protection of the forests and new energy is brought on the market.

“In our 2040 vision, we are considering the sustainable development goals holistically. We must address energy poverty, stop hunger and develop, so we need a holistic approach. The EACOP will benefit the people of East Africa and stopping it is unrealistic and unjust and we are not accepting it. We need about $3 billion to develop the pipeline. This does not mean we are not concerned about climate change issues: we are. Which is why we are using clean electricity when developing these reserves. We cannot ignore climate change issues but to stop us from using our resources to develop Uganda is telling us to remain in darkness. The money from these petroleum reserves is ring fenced for infrastructure development which includes electricity infrastructure,” stated Hon. Ssentamu.

Speaking on the capital needs of the project, Hon. Ssentamu added that, “We are closer to getting the money. Our Excellency the President will be visiting China for the conclusion of the mobilization of resources. I know we will get the money. China is always ready and I want to encourage Europe, America and others to also invest in Uganda, they are welcome.”

For the pipeline and the wider Lake Albert Development, which includes the Tilenga and Kingfisher oilfields, progress is continuing, despite the ongoing pressures to stop development. According to Hon. Ssentamu, “So far, we are on track for first oil. FID was announced this year for the upstream and EACOP and the cabinet has started mobilizing money. The first rig for TotalEnergies is expected next month while the second rig is already in the country. Drilling will be starting soon and we are hoping to see first oil in 2025.”

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