This week there been new talks of the East African Crude Oil Pipe Line (EACOP). That comes after the European Union Parliament came with a Motion, which reflect dire concerns about it. The EACOP pipeline will go from the Lake Albert Basin down to Port of Tanga in Tanzania. It is a joint venture deal, but the one who has the most leverage is the French Company Total. While EACOP itself is a United Kingdom based corporation.
The others with smaller stakes are the Uganda National Oil Corporation (UNOC) and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC). Not to forget the even smaller ownership of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. So, it is not like the EACOP or the drilling of petroleum is done by solely Ugandan ownership either. Not like Tanzania has a huge stake in it either.
Yes, CNOOC and Total will pay taxes and transport fees of sorts, which is normal for a pipeline to the respective nations. However, they are still able and licenced to drill or exploit the oil fields in the Lake Albert Basin. They are doing that and then later transporting the petroleum from Bunyoro to the coast of Tanzania, which is a long pipeline over vast different environments, which could cause harm or endanger it even. That’s only one thing in this enterprise.
The drilling and exploitation of the petroleum in Lake Albert basin and parts of it is done in Murchison Falls National Park. Meaning the ones with the licence to drill will do so in areas, which has already been facilitated to reserve the nature and the habitats of the species living there. In beautiful surroundings and unique as well. Therefore, the whole petroleum industry could cast a spell on the area as a whole. Especially, if there was something going wrong or an “accident” would occur, which could cause massive damage to the areas.
The EU Parliament Motion has been called “colonial” and “Supremacist” also said to block industrial development in East Africa. They are calling it undermining and saying the Europeans should mine their own business. Which is very ironic, when Total, the French company is the main investor and company involved. The lions share of it run by Total and not by anyone else. Before that UK businesses Tullow and Heritage had vast control of the licences to drill in Lake Albert Basin. So, it’s very weird to call one thing “colonial” and yet allowing the same “colonial” enterprises to run business there.
The Ugandans speaking ill of it. Should first ask for Good Governance and proper due diligence over the projects. The development done and the deals should be looked into. Because, little to none is public. Only the diplomatic papers and some shareholding or ownership details are known. The licencing deals for drilling is “secret” and the transactional parts of also under wraps. The same with registration and practically ownership of the UNOC and TPDC. They are not entities who is very open or transparent about.
That’s why when the minority isn’t transparent, and the Total company isn’t either. The grand public cannot know what is at stake. Who is getting a cut and who is really earning on it. Not like the monies or the credible profits cannot be siphoned. It is not like it is in the domain of the public or it has a knowledge about that.
That’s the making of the President and his Office. They have kept it all hidden for a reason. It is his business and not the citizens one. It is his “oil” and he can do what he likes. He don’t like nosy people and don’t want to be bothered with real questions. That’s why its been kept secret… and it’s deliberately so. Peace.
The East African Crude Oil Export Pipeline (EACOP) could face a new hurdle and delays. As there is not only a collective of activists and organizations working to stifle the options of funding the EACOP. The EACOP needs funding to be able to be built. The EACOP has to get funding from either Corporate Banks or Multi-National Institutions. The World Bank said in 2019 that it wouldn’t support it and neither will International Monetary Fund (IMF). Therefore, the EACOP needs to get $5 billion elsewhere to fund the building of it.
Because of the Motion today made by the European Parliament. I had to go back and find more new information into the EACOP. The EACOP haven’t been a steady operation or a quick fix. No, this has been a slow train moving. There has been slowly getting things in order and the it was only last year both Uganda and Tanzania had settle their negotiations. This is why it haven’t gotten further. The slow approach is also a reason why the EACOP is lacking funding and not being operational. The deadlines of the production, the exports and a possibly a refinery in Uganda has also been on hold. Therefore, the EU motion could only get into existence because of the slow movements from the Government of Uganda.
Take a look here…
“The Tilenga oilfield, to the north of Lake Albert, will include operations within the Murchison Falls National Park, and is operated and owned 56.67% by TotalEnergies. The Kingfisher oilfield, at the southern end of the lake, is being developed by CNOOC which owns 28.33%, and Uganda’s UNOC, which has a 15% stake. The two projects are expected to start producing oil in 2025 and reach a peak production of 230,000 barrels per day, which will rank the Lake Albert oil fields as one of Africa’s top 10 oil projects. The shareholders in the pipeline are TotalEnergies (62%), UNOC (15%), Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation TPDC (15%) and CNOOC (8%)” (Tonderayi Mukeredzi – ‘Controversial East Africa oil pipeline moves one step closer to construction’ 25.03.2022, ChinaDialogue,net).
“The East African Crude Oil Export Pipeline, which will have a daily capacity of 216,000 barrels a day, will be funded on a 40% to 60% equity-debt ratio, according to UNOC, a partner in the project. The link is designed to move land-locked Uganda’s oil to international markets. The Islamic Development Bank became the first lender to commit funding to the project when it approved $100 million for EACOP at the weekend. TotalEnergies SE is leading development of the project with a 62% stake in the cross-border pipeline. UNOC and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp. each have a 15% interest, and the rest is owned by China’s Cnooc Ltd” (Fred Ojambo – ‘Uganda expects all pledged funding for oil pipeline by end of November’ 12.09.2022, WorldOil.com)
EU Parliament Motion:
“Calls for the EU and the international community to exert maximum pressure on Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities, as well as the project promoters and stakeholders, to protect the environment and to put an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems, including the shores of Lake Albert, and commit to using the best available means to preserve the culture, health, and future of the communities affected and to explore alternatives in line with international climate and biodiversity commitments; calls on the promoters of the EACOP project in Uganda and Tanzania to resolve all disputes that should have been resolved prior to the launch of the project, and to take into account all the above-mentioned risks, threatening this project; urges TotalEnergies to take one year before launching the project to study the feasibility of an alternative route to better safeguard protected and sensitive ecosystems and the water resources of Uganda and Tanzania, limiting the vulnerability of the watersheds in the African Great Lakes region, which is a critical resource for the region, and to explore alternative projects based on renewable energies for better economic development” (European Parliament – ‘JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on violations of human rights in Uganda and Tanzania linked to investments in fossil fuels projects’ 14.09.2022).
We know the EU Parliament Motion is causing a stir in Kampala and Dodoma. There will be words and possible ramifications of this. The EACOP is mostly owned and run by the Total Energie and that’s French. So, the French or France, which is a Member State in the EU could suddenly apply more pressure on the French Petroleum Company. That would further delay and possibly stop the EACOP pipeline. Since, the pipeline isn’t majority owned by the governments of Uganda or Tanzania. This is why the condemnation of the EU Parliament matters.
Just like the activists and NGOs who is working on overtime pressuring banks and lenders to the EACOP. That in combination of the new policies of greener technology or following climate change programs within the World Bank (WB) or International Monetary Fund (IMF). The EACOP certainly needs lots of funding and fiscal funds. That’s why the EU Parliament condemnation can alter a lot and add pressure, which is even stronger than the activists or NGOs who is already running a marathon with it.
This pipeline is contested, not only because of the parties involved and the respective republic’s. No, it is because of the environments that the oil is drilled and where the petroleum pipeline route goes as well. Peace.
“gold is gold, and they simply need gold” – Gold Smugglers (UN, 2020, P: 19).
Today on the 17th March 2022 the U.S. Treasury has sanctioned the African Gold Refinery and Alain Goetz. This is hitting the Government of Uganda (GoU) which has been proud of this refinery. They are directly hitting the profitability and ability to trade. As the AGR will be blacklisted and possibly make it harder sell it’s gold.
In the U.S. Treasury statement today, it said this:
“Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), sanctioned Alain Goetz, the African Gold Refinery in Uganda, and a network of companies involved in the illicit movement of gold valued at hundreds of millions of dollars per year from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The illicit movement of gold provides revenue to armed groups that threaten the peace, security, and stability of the DRC. Today’s action was taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13413, as amended by E.O. 13671, which targets, among other things, individuals and entities involved in activities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the DRC or that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the DRC. Our action demonstrates the U.S. commitment to disrupt the illicit mineral trade and encourage mining sector transparency” (U.S. Treasury – ‘ Treasury Sanctions Alain Goetz and a Network of Companies Involved in the Illicit Gold Trade’ 17.03.2022).
Where it further states:
“Since 2016, AGR has sourced illicit gold from mines in regions of DRC that are controlled by armed groups, including the Mai-Mai Yakutumba and Raia Mutomboki that are involved in destabilizing activities in South Kivu, DRC. AGR has a refining capacity of 219 tons per year and is considered one of the largest gold refineries in Africa, after refineries in South Africa and Ghana. AGR and Goetz acknowledged that a share of the gold AGR refines comes directly from mines in the DRC and has taken over a significant portion of the market for gold trafficked from the DRC” (U.S. Treasury – ‘ Treasury Sanctions Alain Goetz and a Network of Companies Involved in the Illicit Gold Trade’ 17.03.2022).
The U.S. Treasury isn’t taking this information from nowhere. This has been recorded and proven through United Nations Experts reports over the years. The Entebbe Gold Refinery has been tracked and so has all the illicit minerals, which has gotten to it. It has been taken from conflicts and been a valuable commodity for the militias inside the Democratic Republic of Congo, which trough various of channels has traded it with the AGR. Who again has sold it to the world market.
Back in 2020, there was further proof of how it was operated as:
““The Group established that, on 9 February 2018, African Gold Refinery Ltd sold its shares to AGR International Ltd, a company registered in the Seychelles at Global Gateway, 8 rue de la Perle, Providence, Mahe, Seychelles (see screenshot below). The Group wrote to the authorities of the Seychelles, who confirmed that AGR International Ltd was registered in the Seychelles at the address listed in the Uganda Registration Services Bureau documents” (UN, 2020, P: 107).
So, this corporation will have international implications. It will not only go after Goetz or AGR. This will go even further with time. A Belgian report on the Refinery in 2019 said this:
“Sources in government refer to a speech by the Ugandan president at the ceremonial opening of AGR in 2017. Museveni then said that government agencies opposing the refinery would be ‘tackled hard’. ‘Goetz feels unassailable. And not without reason. He clearly has the protection of President Museveni himself’, says investigative journalist Haggai Matsiko of the Ugandan monthly The Independent. ‘Goetz has put a lot of money into its project (AGR says it has already invested $40 million, ed.). The president seems convinced that the refinery adds economic value by turning Entebbe and Kampala into a gold hub.’” (Kasper Goethals – ‘‘Gold is a dirty business, even if I do say so myself’ 20.04.2019, De Standaard).
With this in mind, this is a major blow to the wishes of President Museveni. The U.S. is sanctioning it and setting a precedence of which makes transactions with it questionable. Yes, at this moment it is about trading and association with U.S. businesses and citizens. Alas, the AGR is a prestigious part of the gold adventure Museveni wanted to have.
Let us not forget the June 2017 Global Witness Report “Under-Mined” on the AGR, which stated this:
“African Gold Refinery is run by a small group of Belgian and Ugandan businessmen, including former government minister Richard Kaijuka, who are managing to ship hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold out of Uganda without disclosing its origin and paying very little tax in the process. They are the owners and managers of a newly built gold refinery on the shores of Lake Edward near Entebbe airport. Remarkably, Barnabas Taremwa: brother-in-law to Salim Saleh, Museveni’s most famous brother and Uganda’s de facto number two, told Global Witness that he had helped negotiate the company’s huge tax breaks with the government (corroborated by documents seen by Global Witness) and set up supply routes for the refinery” (Global Witness, P: 27, 2017).
““Alain Goetz, who is also the CEO of the company, a Belgian national, is one of the most famous dealers of Congolese gold in recent history. During the 90s the Alain and his father Tony, who died in 2005, were reported as dominating gold exports from the Congo through their networks to Belgium and later Dubai” (…) “Mr Barnabas Taremwa, who previously worked for AGR is the brother in law of Salim Saleh, the President’s brother. AGR told Global Witness in a letter dated January 2017 that Taremwa’s sister and Salim Saleh had divorced three years ago, seemingly in an attempt to distance themselves from the General. However, Salim Saleh told Global Witness that “Barnabas Taremwa is still my brother in law and it is false and an insult to me for you to state that I divorced his sister.” (…) “Richard Henry Kaijuka is the Chairman of AGR.160 According to an article in Africa Energy in June 2011, Mr Kaijuka is “a childhood friend of President Yoweri Museveni, who fell out with the regime after he opposed a controversial constitutional amendment in 2005 that removed presidential term limits.” (Global Witness, P: 73, 2017).
So, if you know all of this. You know the AGR is hitting home. This will hit the State House and the Presidency. Not only the pride of selling illicit minerals from militias in the DRC. No, he will not earn profit on the tears and suffering of the DRC anymore. At least not at the same scale or have the possibility of trading it to the United States. This is a proof of the possible damage it can do. This is million of dollars of exports that can be hit by this sanction. Because, AGR is a tainted business…
That is the truth here and it is about time. Reports about it from it’s inception should have been the warning sign. Yes, the official date was back in 2017, but it was operating from 2014. So, there been lost years and the AGR haven’t really complied with proof of where the gold came from and therefore, this is well deserved. Finally, a place which is a hot-spot for conflict minerals get hit with sanctions. Peace.