The Environmental Cost of Uganda and Tanzania’s Crude Oil Pipeline

Uganda and Tanzania are set to begin work on a massive crude oil pipeline a year after the International Energy Agency warned that the world risked not meeting its climate goals if new fossil fuel projects were not stopped.

The two East African countries say their priority is economic development. Eighty percent of the 1,440km pipeline, whose construction will begin in a few months, will be in Tanzania including a terminal-storage facility in Chongoleani. Because of the waxy nature of Lake Albert’s crude oil, it will be transported through a heated pipeline – the longest in the world.

But only a third of the reserves of 6.5 billion barrels, first discovered in 2006, is deemed commercially viable. Despite the projected economic benefits, the timing of the project has divided opinion in Uganda and beyond.

Although Eacop plans to construct a refinery in Uganda for domestic consumption, its crude oil will mainly be for export, especially for Europe as a result of the ripple-effects of the war in Ukraine.

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