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Standard Bank to Move Forward With Funding $5-Billion African Oil Pipeline

Africa’s top lender, Standard Bank, expects to help fund part of the planned $5-billion East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a controversial project that has had environmental campaigners call on banks to abandon financing for the pipeline.  

The EACOP project, with a price tag of $5 billion, is for a 1,443 kilometer-long (897 miles) pipeline to be built from landlocked Uganda to the Tanga port in Tanzania. The oil pipeline is expected to bring crude from the Lake Albert project in Uganda to the international oil market. It is designed to transport 216,000 barrels of crude oil per day, with a ramp-up of up to 246,000 bpd, Uganda says.

The pipeline, which will be the largest in Africa, is part of Uganda’s comprehensive plan to develop its oil resources.

The EACOP project is being developed and will be operated by EACOP Ltd, a company composed of the local subsidiary of French supermajor TotalEnergies, as well as UNOC, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), and the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC).

Amid controversies and continued calls on banks to stop funding oil and gas exploration and infrastructure development, Standard Bank hired in 2021 an independent adviser to help it decide whether to accept involvement in the project.

The bank has completed its years-long environmental and due diligence review, Standard Bank chair Nonkululeko Nyembezi told Bloomberg in an interview published on Thursday.

“We have all the lenders,” the executive added.

Field developments are under way and TotalEnergies could make an announcement on the pipeline in the coming months, Nyembezi told Bloomberg, adding that there is “complete commitment on the part of the sponsors of the oil projects to get it done.”

Meanwhile, activists are calling on insurance firms to shun the project, while Human Rights Watch said in November that the planned oil pipeline in East Africa “has devastated thousands of people’s livelihoods in Uganda and will exacerbate the global climate crisis.”

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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