The French group TotalEnergies indicated on Tuesday 1er February to have concluded with Uganda, Tanzania and its partner the Chinese oil giant CNOOC an investment agreement of 10 billion dollars (nearly 9 billion euros) within the framework of its immense controversial project of exploitation and export of Ugandan oil.
→ INVESTIGATION. Uganda: Total in the trap of black gold
“Today we are committing to invest $10 billion in the Tilenga and Kingfisher projects and the 1,443 kilometer long pipeline” linking Uganda to Tanzania, said Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of TotalEnergies, during an official ceremony in the Ugandan capital Kampala.
This agreement, called Final Investment Decision (FID), was signed sixteen years after the discovery of these reserves located under the waters of Lake Albert, in western Uganda, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. . Within the Ugandan authorities, these reserves have aroused since 2006 the hope of seeing their country transform into an oil eldorado.
“As of today with the FID, the project will fully enter the construction phase”, added Patrick Pouyanné. CNOOC Uganda President Chen Zhuobiao called the day a” incredible “. “Such a moment was long overdue for this sector”, he said.
A project decried by environmentalists
In France, since 2017 the law has imposed a duty of care on parent companies towards their foreign subsidiaries. French justice can thus prosecute the latter in the event of violations of human and environmental rights related to their activities. Six French and Ugandan NGOs, including Survie and Les Amis de la Terre, have taken Total to court for non-compliance with said duty of care.
These organizations believe that the acquisition of land and the process of moving people living on it violate human rights, particularly in terms of access to education, health or food. According to NGOs, approximately 100,000 people are deprived of their land. The drilling of the 400 wells included in the Tilenga project would also run serious ecological risks on the fauna, flora and soils.
→ UNDERSTAND. Total sued by NGOs for a project in Uganda
In October 2019, the Nanterre court relinquished the case, referring the case to the commercial court. The associations then challenged this decision before the Court of Cassation, which ruled in their favor in December 2021, paving the way for a trial before a court of law.