Uganda is among the countries that have in the last six months faced scathing attacks from climate activists over her oil projects. But with the Russia-Ukraine war, energy security is still needed.
Uganda will get a head start for her oil projects, only if the Group of Seven (G7) countries maintain their new position aimed at increasing oil production.
The G7 countries consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and United States of America called on energy-exporting countries to increase oil production at a summit held in Germany in June.
The G7’s shift in favour of fossil fuels follows years of de-campaign as the energy transition question gathers steam towards green energy solutions.
Uganda is among the countries that have in the last six months faced scathing attacks from climate activists over her oil projects.
The climate pressure is geared towards the construction of the 1,443 kilometre heated East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP) running from Hoima district in Uganda to the Port of Tanga in Tanzania.
A new report assessing the oil pipeline and associated oil fields against internationally recognised environmental and human rights standards for financial institutions found “numerous violations, putting banks at risk if they sign on to support the project.”
The assessment was undertaken by the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) based in Uganda and Inclusive Development International (IDI).
It also includes BankTrack, an international tracking, campaigning and civil society support organisation targeting private sector commercial banks (‘banks’) and the activities they finance.
It suggests that the project is not in compliance with many of the criteria set forth in the Equator Principles and the Environmental and Social Performance Standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), two internationally recognised standards for responsible finance.
“The EACOP project developers have committed to adhere to the IFC Performance and other international standards. However, while implementing the EACOP and its associated upstream oil projects, the developers have come short in complying with the standards,” says Diana Nabiruma, AFIEGO’s senior communications officer as quoted in a press statement.
But even with such rallying cries from climate activists, the tide is shifting, the world still demands that more oil and gas is required for industries to run.
Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, the outgoing Secretary General at Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) notes that it is unfortunate that the policy narrative in the run-up to and during at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) held last year in Glasgow, UK was heavily distorted against fossil fuels and divorced from the reality of the world’s energy needs.
Barkindo made the remarks contained in a statement published on the OPEC website while at the opening ceremony of the 21st edition of Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference and Exhibition in early July.
He observed that developing countries were urged to turn their backs on their own hydrocarbon (fossil fuel) assets, even though their right to sovereignty over the use of these natural resources is carved in the Paris Agreement’s principle of equity in the context of sustainable development.
Barkindo noted that the pronouncements were misleading and yet, key stakeholders in the industry are currently participating in the intergovernmental arrangements and initiatives to develop, deploy and promote cutting-edge technologies to reduce emissions from the production.
The shift towards the need for fossil fuels to address the world’s energy needs saw Barkindo hail the new decision that was reached at the G7 leaders’ Summit in Germany.
“They [G7 group] took a step in the right direction by recognising the need for continued investment in fossil fuels to help meet the world’s energy needs,” he stated.
“Both the market and consumers deserve clear and consistent policies which recognise that oil is indispensable to global economic development and the world’s energy mix,” Sanusi said, noting that, “Our industry cannot afford to sleepwalk into another crisis.”