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10 Jul 2023

Human Rights Watch

Uganda: “Our Trust is Broken” Loss of Land and Livelihoods for Oil Development in Uganda

The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is one of the most significant fossil fuel infrastructure projects currently under development globally, connecting the Tilenga and Kingfisher oilfields in western Uganda with the port of Tanga in eastern Tanzania. As planned, the Lake Albert Development Project will include hundreds of oil wells, hundreds of kilometers of roads, camps and other infrastructure, and a 1,443-kilometer pipeline, the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world. An estimated 246,000 barrels of oil will flow each day for the projected 25 years of operation. The first wells have been drilled in the two oilfields, infrastructure development is underway, and compensation under the land acquisition project along the pipeline corridor has been paid for 93 percent of impacted households according to TotalEnergies. In total, over 100,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania will permanently lose land to make way for the pipeline and Tilenga oilfield development, according to calculations based on project documentation. French fossil fuel giant TotalEnergies is the principal company involved through its two East African subsidiaries, TotalEnergies EP Uganda, the operator for both EACOP and the Tilenga oilfields, and TotalEnergies East Africa Midstream. Other partners in the Tilenga oilfields (the “Tilenga consortium”) are the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) and the state-owned Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC). [...] Despite numerous public statements, policies, and plans from TotalEnergies and its subsidiaries to identify and mitigate negative impacts in the project, the situation on the ground for many families who are losing land is grim. Based on over 90 interviews that Human Rights Watch conducted in early 2023, including with 75 displaced families in five districts of Uganda, this report documents the devastating impacts on livelihoods of Ugandan families from the land acquisition process. The land acquisition process has been marred by delays, poor communication, and inadequate compensation. Critically, Human Rights Watch found that affected households are much worse off than before. Many interviewees expressed anger that they are still awaiting the adequate compensation promised by TotalEnergies and its subsidiaries in early meetings in which company representatives extolled the virtues of the oil development.