Insurance company Britam has withdrawn from an agreement to underwrite the East African Crude Oil Pipeline after discovering that its participation in the $5 billion project violates the policies and performance requirements of its investors.
Britam withdrew from EACOP after reviewing the environmental and social risks, according to information provided in a report sent on November 8 in response to a complaint made to the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, an independent World Bank office, last year.
Asserting that EACOP and related oil projects did not adhere to IFC criteria, the lawsuit questioned the regional insurer’s proposed participation in underwriting the pipeline through the insurance Consortium for Oil and Gas Uganda.
These include ongoing threats and retaliation against human rights advocates who are opposed to the project and anticipated irreversible effects on a delicate ecosystem like Murchison Falls National Park. They also include failing to meaningfully consult local communities and providing adequate and prompt compensation to communities whose land is being acquired.
Following the withdrawal, Environmental activists, religious figures, and believers in Paris protested on Tuesday against the mega oil project EACOP. “Deliver us from Total”, and “Warm hearts, not the pipeline,” about thirty people gathered in front of the TotalEngeries gas station in South Paris demanded.
A division of the Extinction Rebellion movement, which is well-known for its acts of civil disobedience, is Extinction Rebellion Spiritualities. An interreligious NGO called GreenFaith was founded in the United States and is backed by religious volunteers in its battle “for climate justice.”
The protesters were against TotalEngeries’s East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and Tilenga oil field project in Tanzania and Uganda. The NGOs accuse the multinationals of invading the lands and are worried about the project’s impact on the environment.
EACOP, the Uganda- Tanzania Crude Oil Pipeline is currently being built. It aims to move crude oil from the oil reserves in Uganda to the post in Tanga, Tanzania, which is located on the Indian Ocean.
The pipeline will eventually be the longest-heated crude oil pipeline in the world when it is finished.
Nakate, a Ugandan climate activist, had come to France to ask the government about the current position of EACOP.
“I have come here to ask the French government to stand with us, to stand with people, and with the planet, to make a decision about whether they are in support of the EACOP project in my country or not,” she said to the media.
According to the reports, she also said that EACOP is going to affect the lives of so many people. The communities that are being impacted right now, are people who are being left homeless. The pipeline is going to go through Lake Victoria and Murchison Falls, which is dependent upon over 40 million people. So this project will make many people as this is a source of food and source of income for so many.
Several environmental NGOs have filed lawsuits against TotalEnergies because of their operations in Tanzania and Uganda. On December 7, the firm will appear before the Paris Court of Justice to examine the situation.
The Tilenga project, a 419-well drilling project in Uganda, of which a third is in the Murchison Falls National Park, and the EACOP project, the world’s longest heated oil pipeline that crosses Tanzania for nearly 1,500 km while transiting several protected natural areas, are the two enormous projects that the association is aiming to stop.
As a client of IFC, Britam was expected to make certain that every high-risk project it covers complies with IFC’s environmental and social performance standards.
It remains to be seen how TotalEnergies and China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which both sided with Uganda to publicly defend EACOP as a project that fits with IFC’s environmental and social requirements, would be impacted by Britam’s withdrawal from the project.