Total responds to environment queries

Tuesday March 16 2021
Total Petrol Station.

A Total petrol station in Kampala, Uganda, on January 28, 2020. The company recently published reports in response to questions raised about the social and environmental damage posed by its Tilenga Project. PHOTO | AFP


Total recently published several reports in response to questions raised about the social and environmental damage posed by its upstream Tilenga Project, partly located in Murchison Falls national park — Uganda’s largest conservation area — and the 1,443km East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop), running from Uganda and Tanzania.

The company published findings from studies it commissioned, as well as independent third-party reviews and social and environmental action plans relating to its projects. In the March 8 report, the company said these projects are being carried out in compliance with the stringent standards of the International Finance Corporation.

“We acknowledge that Tilenga and Eacop projects represent significant social and environmental stakes, which we are taking into consideration responsibly. We are mobilising substantial resources to ensure that these projects are carried out in an exemplary manner and create value for the people in both countries.

“The commitment of Total is to answer to all questions and to ensure complete transparency on the studies it conducted and those by independent third parties, and the actions taken as a result,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Total’s chairman and CEO.

“Total has decided to voluntarily limit the Tilenga project’s footprint within Uganda’s Murchison Falls Park,” the company said, in a statement. While the current permit to operate in the park allows for it to cover nearly 10 percent of the protected area, the development will be restricted to less than one percent, and the undeveloped areas will be voluntarily relinquished without delay.

More than 260 NGOs recently called on banks interested in financing the project to withdraw support, citing human rights abuses and environmental risks linked to the $3.5 billion Eacop, especially the upstream projects.