Catholic bishops extol EACOP execution

TANZANIA Episcopal Conference (TEC) has commended and blessed the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project, saying that its implementation was vital and will significantly transform the country’s economy.

Archbishop Jude Thaddaeus Ruwa’ichi of the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam said Tanzania has experience of more than 50 years in dealing with crude oil pipeline; therefore, it will perfectly execute and manage the EACOP project.

EACOP is a pipeline that will transport crude oil produced from Uganda’s Lake Albert oilfields to the port of Tanga in Tanzania, where the oil will then be sold onwards to the world markets. EACOP runs 1,443km from Kabaale, Hoima district in Uganda to the Chongoleani Peninsula near Tanga Port in Tanzania, of which 80 per cent of the pipeline will be in Tanzania.

The project is a buried thermally insulated 24″ pipeline along with six pumping stations (two in Uganda and four in Tanzania) ending at Tanga with a Terminal and Jetty.

Archbishop Ruwa’ichi said that since Tanzania started using the Tanzania, Zambia Mafuta (Tazama) pipeline no harm or conflicts have ever been experienced, adding that he believes that the EACOP project will be implemented in the same manner.

The Tazama Crude Oil Pipeline was constructed to transport crude oil from the port of Dar es Salaam into the land linked Zambia, at an affordable, sustainable economic cost. When installed in 1968, the pipeline had a carrying capacity of 1,100,000 tonnes (1,212,542 tonnes) annually.

Tazama pipeline runs 1,710 kilometers (1,063 miles) from Dar es Salaam towards the Indeni Petroleum Refinery at Ndola, Zambia, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The channel has an 8-inch (200-millimetre) diameter for 954 kilometres (593 miles) and a 12-inch (300-millimetre) diameter for the remaining 798 kilometres (96 miles).

“EACOP will not be the first oil pipeline project to be executed in the country. The existing Tazama has existed for the past 50 years and we have never seen serious consequences or heard of any crisis.

So, let’s raise our voices and speak positively about this project because we believe the government is observing all environmental procedures,” said Archbishop Ruwa’ichi.

Archbishop Ruwa’ichi, who is also in charge of TEC’s environmental issues and society, said the EACOP project will benefit every Tanzanian; therefore, it should be highly supported.

The archbishop said this yesterday in Dar es Salaam at a meeting organised by TEC which involved organisations and stakeholders of the EACOP project. The meeting was meant to communicate accurate information about the technology used to implement the project.

In addition,the archbishop said that resources accrued from the EACOP project must be properly managed to avoid conflicts like those occurring in other countries with similar projects.

He said that those countries had been engulfed into conflicts, were because they did not follow the environmental procedures and also the participation of citizens was not effectively considered.

The EACOP Project Manager Ms Wendy Brown said the project highly consider and observes zero harm to people, the environment and communities as well as sustainable development strategy.

She said the project use a modern technology that will reduce carbon emission to the communities.

Ms Brown said EACOP is committed to comply with national law and international standards, International Finance Corporation (IFC) performance Standards, Equator Principles, UN guiding principles on business and human rights, voluntary principles on security and human rights.

On his part, the Geita Diocese, Bishop Flavian Kassala asked citizens to look for more opportunities than waiting for compensations.

He said their attitude is to look at the areas close to the pipeline and use them as an opportunity to provide services to the project workers.

Bishop Kassala said the pipeline is a long-term investment and therefore, citizens should be major participants in the implementation of the project.

“Basically, the assessment for compensation should be done fairly to ‘wananchi’ and they should make sure they provide them with the best environment to benefit from the project economically,” said Bishop Kassala.

The TEC Secretary General, Dr Charles Kitima noted “We need the necessary environmental precautions and best technologies to be embraced. We really make this clear and this is what the bishops want.”

Dr Kitima commended the implementation of the project, saying they have so far seen those who were supposed to get compensation at least 98 per cent have been already received their compensation in accordance with the national and international laws.

Dr Kitima said if people are treated fairly according to the country’s policies they will be satisfied because it will be a valid agreement between the investors and the citizens of Tanzania.

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