Standard Bank says their participation in the funding of the 1443 KM East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline project, is still pending a credit approval process and a full environmental assessment by an independent environmental and social consultant.
French oil and gas company Total Energies, is spearheading the finalisation of the pipeline project that is expected to run from Northern Uganda to the port of Tanga in Tanzania.
However, climate activists and lobby groups have demanded an end to the project and have criticised Standard Bank for what they claim to be the bank’s involvement and support for the project. Activists say the pipeline will displace more than 100-thousand communities along its route and have a severe impact on climate, wildlife and the local water source.
A 2020 report by OXFAM estimates between 300 to 400 households will need to be relocated due to the project. This has left lobby groups outraged.
STOP EACOP campaign’s Omar Elmawi, says, “This Project is not in the best interest of both Uganda and Tanzania and some of these solidarity actions include colleagues from Europe blocking Total Energies from having their Annual General Meeting on 25th of May.”
Total Energies and its partners are trying to secure 5 billion US dollars in financing and it is looking at several major banks, Standard Bank being one of them.
However, in a written statement, the Bank says they are still weighing their options on the matter pending the outcome of their independent assessment into Total Energies climate change strategies and targets.
Standard Bank says their potential funding of the project would be determined by credit approval processes, once all due diligence assessments have been concluded. This includes looking into the legal, technical, security, market, reserves, environmental, social and other concerns.
This has led to activists, including Elmawi demanding even more clarity from the Bank.
Standard Bank South Africa and the industrial bank of china have been involved with arranging finances needed for the Project.
“It’s an expensive venture a 5 billion dollar project, about 60% of it comes from debt financing so the proponents need to get 3 billion US to get it through they are no way closer to getting it.” says Elmawi.
If the pipeline project is implemented, it is believed that more than 1.7 billion barrels of oil deposits on the floor of Lake Albert, a massive lake that lies between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, could be extracted to supply the local community end export to the global market.