French oil giant TotalEnergies and its partner China National Offshore Oil Corporation have struck a deal with Uganda and Tanzania to channel over $10 billion in developing crude oil production in the two East African countries
“In the name of the joint venture partners and… TotalEnergies, I declare the final investment decision for the Lake Albert development project, TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne said on Tuesday.
The investment will cover the development of oil fields, processing plants and a network of crude pipeline in Uganda connecting to an export pipeline through Tanzania to evacuate Kampala’s oil to global markets via a port in Tanzania – about 1,400 kilometres from the oil rigs near the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Uganda discovered oil near its border with the DRC in 2006, but production has been held back by incessant disagreements between the government and oil firms over tax and development strategy, besides a lack of the requisite infrastructure.
“This milestone puts us on the path to first oil in 2025,” Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu said.
Uganda projects that over 160,000 job opportunities will be created as the project gets underway.
The investment will see the two giant fossil fuel firms drill for oil in several nature reserves, a move that has been attracting opposition and criticism from the International Federation for Human Rights.
Besides causing the displacement of thousands of people, the rights group faulted the investment, saying that it goes contra to provisions and aspirations of the 2015 Paris climate deal.
President Yoweri Museveni has, however, countered saying: “Let the NGOs go and sleep in the bush if they want… There is nothing we are hiding.”
Uganda’s oil reserves are quoted at roughly six billion barrels, while the recoverable oil is projected at 1.4 billion barrels.