This article appears in the January 6, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
EACOP and the Battle for African Development: Zeus vs. Prometheus
Dec. 29—The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is a project in the works to end energy poverty in Uganda and Tanzania. It is a project that exemplifies the shift in Africa and the world at large away from “green” colonialism and to a new paradigm of win-win development and cooperation with other sovereign nations. EACOP is emblematic of the end of the colonial suppression of African development, as the continent pivots away from the West and in particular to China and its Belt and Road Initiative.
EACOP is a planned, 1,445 km crude oil pipeline proceeding from the Lake Albert oilfield in western Uganda, southeastward through that nation (with a population of 49 million people), and through Tanzania (62 million) to the Indian Ocean at Port Tanga. A $10 billion agreement was signed in 2020 for the project, which will provide energy directly to these economies, export revenue, and mutual-benefit trade in the Indian-Pacific Ocean Basins as well. Eighty percent of the pipeline is in Tanzania, but the pipeline poses a way for landlocked Uganda to export oil to the wider Far Eastern world.
EACOP goes against the global “green” agenda, which seeks to ban fossil fuels and economic development, and EACOP defies, in particular, the premises of the 2022 summits of COP27 on climate change and COP15 on biodiversity. At COP27 in Egypt, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry said that the pipeline and all hydrocarbons must be “reconsidered.” At COP15 in Montreal, many green gurus denounced EACOP for planning oil wells in Murchison Falls National Park, where they said wildlife biodiversity will be harmed. But Uganda and Tanzania are proceeding with EACOP, regardless.
The Ancient Struggle Against Oligarchism
Greek mythology provides a metaphor for the conflict between a humanity yearning for progress, and an oligarchy determined to dominate everyone else. In the Prometheus story, Prometheus is a titan who sympathizes with the humans who are being kept helpless and backward by the pantheon of the gods (Lyndon LaRouche once speculated that the Greek myths were tales of actual oligarchic families, whose deeds were exaggerated and embellished through generations of story-telling.) Prometheus steals fire from the gods, and gives it to the humans, which represents the beginning of technology in human civilization. An enraged Zeus, chief of the gods, condemns Prometheus to endless torment for disrupting his preferred, “sustainable” form of human society, but Prometheus refuses to capitulate. This conflict is being played out again today with the struggle against “green” colonialism.
Energy Poverty in Uganda
According to the latest , up to 90% of Ugandans use charcoal from local forests to heat their homes and cook their food. In 2012, up to 80% of also used “tadooba” open-flame paraffin (kerosene) lamps to light their homes, resulting in fires that claimed lives and destroyed property.
Furthermore, according to a 2005/6 Uganda National Household Survey, 16% of the household expenditure of a typical Ugandan family goes towards fuel and energy. The study states that, “Most of this expenditure goes to the fuel service stations, where seven out of every 10 Ugandans buy paraffin to fuel their tadooba. Each household spends an average of Ush180,000 (US$92) per year on paraffin, making it the only largely affordable means of light in rural homes despite the fire risks it poses its users.”
Although these percentages have dropped in recent times, with over 93% of residents in Kampala, the nation’s capital city, having access to grid electricity, in rural areas, electricity access remains very low. In particular, in the Karamoja sub-region, less than 1% of householders have access to grid electricity.
And the gains in electricity access have come with a huge fight. The formal energy economy in Uganda has thus far struggled to develop under the boot of British colonialism. The Ugandan energy grid relies on a largely inadequate hydropower system whose further development has been fought tooth and nail by a swarm of western NGO “environmentalist” groups.
Western Opposition to EACOP
As a consequence of colonial policies, Ugandans today live in an energy apocalypse where the growing and young population experience blackouts as a part of everyday life. Hospitals are among the biggest consumers of energy, and when they experience blackouts, people die.
Even when Uganda attempted to build modern “sustainable” hydropower stations, their country was flooded with foreign influence, and peddling “environmental concerns” and “human rights” as pretexts for Uganda to remain in energy poverty. Today, when Uganda is attempting to develop its oil and gas industry, these NGOs are using the same playbook to sabotage African sovereignty. While Al Gore and other Western advocates promote “environmentalism” and “green transitions,” they leave Africans to chop down trees for fuel, rather than develop their own independent and sovereign industries.
On September 14, 2022, a joint was filed in the European Parliament and was voted up the next day, titled, “On Violations of Human Rights in Uganda and Tanzania Linked to Investments in Fossil Fuels Projects,” which condemned the EACOP project. The resolution called “for the EU and the international community… to put an end to the extractive activities … [on the] shores of Lake Albert.” The resolution called for TotalEnergies, one of the principal partners in EACOP, to delay participation by a year, and in effect, drop out; and for banks globally to formally decline to fund the project.
In conjunction with the EU resolution, an army of U.S.- and City of London-backed NGOs formed the “” movement to pressure companies, governments, and policymakers to denounce and sabotage the project. The resolution calls upon the Ugandan government, which took away authorization from 54 of these NGOs, to re-authorize them and grant them “free, meaningful and unhindered access to the oil zone.”
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, among Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has strongly denounced Europe for returning to fossil fuels, while telling Africa it must not use them. Moreover, he called it “reprehensible, brazen double standards” for Europe to approve investment in African fossil fuels only if they are to be exported to Europe! “We will not accept one rule for them and another rule for us,” he wrote in a blog in November during the UN’s COP27 climate meeting in Egypt. “It is morally bankrupt for Europeans to expect to take Africa’s fossil fuels for their own energy production, but refuse to countenance African use of those same fuels for theirs.”
Resistance to this attempted coercion has been strong. Members of the International LaRouche Youth Movement are developing a dossier on the whole list of NGOs supporting the Stop EACOP movement and their links to British Intelligence, Washington D.C. think tanks and funds, the World Economic Forum, and the Open Society Foundation, to name a few. The large majority of this movement’s funds have been obtained from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and a deluge of spending by the U.S. Congress for loans and grants to NGOs, especially under recent Democratic leadership. For example, U.S. State Department funds are going to the Stop EACOP group via the conduit of the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) according to the Stop EACOP website.
Green Fascist Asset: Bobi Wine
Among the forces of colonial counter-development and the “degrowth” movement, or what is sometimes called “green fascism,” is the CIA- and MI6-backed Ugandan presidential candidate Bobi Wine. In addition to Wine’s obvious connection to Washington as a sponsored graduate of the Harvard “Leadership in the 21st Century” program, Wine has lately had Zoom meetings with Juan Guaidó, the U.S. government’s comical choice to lead oil-rich Venezuela in an abortive coup against President Maduro. The gall that Wine showed in posting his meeting with Guaidó to his social media only further reveals the obvious and open threat against African sovereignty that Wine represents.
And that is quite apparent from Wine’s rejection of both Russia and China, actively demonizing them and openly making a music in Ukraine, singing in “solidarity” with those seeking to eliminate Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Furthermore, he has been spearheading demonstrations within Uganda against the launch of the EACOP pipeline project.
All of the above demonstrates the active role that the West is playing in fighting the construction of EACOP. It also reveals the geopolitical nature of the “climate crisis” lie and its use as a lame excuse to maintain energy poverty within, and thereby colonial control over, Africa.
When EACOP is completed, it will be the world’s largest heated crude oil pipeline. The pipeline is heated because the Ugandan crude oil is particularly sweet and sticky. This oil was first discovered by drilling in the Lake Albert area of Uganda in 2006. Further exploration and appraisal were completed in 2014. In the period of 2016-2018 the EACOP route was studied and narrowed down to its final width of 30 meters, allowing the Government to then initiate land surveys and “Environmental and Social Impact Assessments.”
The 24-inch insulated pipeline will be buried along its entire length with the top of the pipe being one meter below the surface. Once constructed and buried, the topsoil and surface vegetation will be reinstated, people and animals will be able to pass freely across, and it will pass under points of intersection with other infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, or cables.
The project is currently in its third phase, “Project Execution,” where procurement and construction are taking place. The EACOP Company is the entity representing the major shareholders, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), TotalEnergies E&P Uganda, and CNOOC Uganda (China National Offshore Oil Corporation). The plan projects getting oil to the overseas markets by 2025.
EACOP will pay taxes and duties to the Ugandan government and has developed a Transport and Tariff Agreement (TTA) setting out the terms and conditions for EACOP to transport oil. Under the TTA, EACOP will receive an income in the form of a tariff charged for each barrel of oil transported. EACOP takes custody of the oil at the flange immediately after the upstream fiscal metering until the loading flange on the marine jetty in Tanga bay. The ownership of the oil remains with the upstream shippers (Government of Uganda, TotalEnergies E&P Uganda, CNOOC Uganda, and UNOC).
Completion of the EACOP project will result in the maximum production of 216,000 barrels of oil a day, with 60,000 barrels a day being refined in Uganda. With this oil, Uganda will meet the energy demands of its incredibly young and growing population. (In 2013, 78% of Uganda’s population was under the age of 30.)
Including the downstream, midstream, and upstream revenue opportunities, the project will net the Ugandan government an estimated $69 billion of revenue with $2 billion of revenue annually. Twenty-five percent of this revenue will be spent on the repayment of loans.
The project’s roughly 25-year life span has dismayed many environmentalists, as it would extend Uganda’s fossil fuel future far beyond many of the radical energy transition pledges.
The government can invest this yearly revenue in housing, hospitals, schools, power plants, the development of value-added industries, and more. With the energy it generates with its fossil fuel industry, it can also invest capital and energy in developing nuclear power plants to guarantee the future of Uganda’s energy economy after the EACOP projects lifespan ends.
The project is furthermore estimated to create 80,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly tied to the pipeline. This number does not include the jobs that may be created by the reinvestment of the revenue generated.
Overall, it is clear that EACOP will transition Uganda into a modern economy with a brighter economic future, helping it recover from the after-effects of the19th-century Imperial British East Africa Company and its successors. Without the West’s stranglehold of African energy and sovereignty, African nations will have more freedom to bargain with the West and the East on their own terms, endangering the unipolar “rules-based order” and dollar hegemony.
That is why it is clear that the resistance to EACOP from Western NGOs is reflective not of their wisdom, charity, and respect for the environment, but in actuality, the interest of Western oligarchs and their desire to crush the emerging “win-win” “peace through development” paradigm offered by the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the proposed “World Land-Bridge” plan of the Schiller Institute.
Africa-China Collaboration on the Belt and Road
When Xi Jinping was first elected to the Chinese Presidency in 2013, he went on an international tour; Tanzania was one of his major stops.
In China, Tanzania is seen as the “Gateway to Africa” and a major player in the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2013, Xi signed a huge deal regarding investment in Tanzanian ports, transforming the Tanzanian coast into a modern economic development corridor.
Today, Tanzania and China are closer than ever before. On November 3, President Xi Jinping held talks with President Samia Suluhu Hassan, and Tanzania and China signed the Joint Statement on Establishing a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The draft detailed the two countries’ growing trust and cooperation with each other in the context of the strategy for the Belt and Road Initiative. It also highlighted China’s commitment to work together with Tanzania to advance and upgrade the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, originally built in the 1970s with Chinese support. The railway connected the port of Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean to the town of Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia’s landlocked Central Province. This railway became known as the “Freedom Railway” for the opportunities it opened up for the East African economy.
In addition to agreements to modernize the Freedom Railway with modern high-speed rail, the two leaders signed agreements such as a draft to invest $56.77 million in Tanzania to support the Zanzibar International Airport in its Terminal 2 project. China has also agreed to deals to further modernize and develop Tanzanian ports such as the Port of Tanga (where Ugandan oil will be exported).
The Chinese connection to EACOP is significant as well.
The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is a 28% stakeholder in the downstream project of extraction in the Lake Albert Oil Fields where the EACOP project begins. Several Chinese banks have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into CNOOC and their work on the EACOP effort.
Furthermore, China has been a pivotal force in developing Uganda’s own energy industry. In 2019, Makerere University agreed to a memorandum with the Chinese University of Petroleum. The memorandum recognized the Chinese University of Petroleum as the cradle of talent in China’s growing petroleum industry and its dedication to specialized training in the petroleum and petrochemical industries. The memorandum “seeks to leverage the expertise of the UPC to establish the Institute of Petroleum/Geosciences at Makerere University” and “agreed to jointly apply for funding from international agencies to support a state-of-the-art petroleum engineering lab at Makerere University.” Since signing, Makerere University and UPC have also agreed to cooperate on student and staff exchange programs. The Chinese Embassy has also funded scholarships for Ugandans to attend Makerere University.
This educational cooperation between Uganda and China has been of central importance to the growing talent on display at Makerere University. The LaRouche Youth Movement met with Rahma Nantongo, Chairperson of the Makerere University Petroleum and Geology Society (follow her on Twitter: @Rahma_Nantongo) and were inspired by the commitment she and other Ugandan government, business, and youth leaders demonstrate in their mission to end energy poverty in Africa.
They held discussions with the LaRouche Youth Movement, including this author, both privately and on Twitter spaces, reporting on the misinformation being spread about EACOP. They informed us about what they have been doing to address misunderstandings about EACOP. But above all, they expressed their anger toward the European Union and their anger toward what they feel is complete hypocrisy coming from the West.
They asked why was it that the West is permitted to develop and consume oil as it desires, while meanwhile telling African countries not to develop their own industries. Many of them went so far as to outright denounce the ideology of “climate crisis” as fearmongering and an act of colonialism. One participant called climate change an outright fraud, concocted to combat African development. (You can listen to this dialogue .)
While the discussion of the science involved in climate change, and the fact that there is no current “climate emergency,” is best left to another article, it is worth affirming that CO2, far from being a pollutant, is the elixir of life. Climate deaths are down from where they were a century ago, due largely to modern infrastructure development, powered by fossil fuels.
While we should try to understand how and why the climate changes, the key to avoiding deaths due to climatic weather events is to eradicate poverty and ensure that every man, woman, and child has access to clean drinking water, quality healthcare and sanitation, transportation and housing, nutritious food, and classical education.
Increasing our Energy-Flux Density and creating an anti-entropic society is the number one way we can ensure that we increase quality of life while beautifying and establishing dominion over the environment. Doing so requires energy, and until we develop nuclear fusion capabilities, fossil fuels are crucial to the equation. By investing in and building the physical economy of Uganda and Tanzania, China is not only ensuring that fewer people die in Africa from weather events or so-called “Global Warming,” and not only helping to #EndEnergyPoverty, but is furthermore helping to bring Uganda into a New Paradigm outside the grip of the Rules-Based Order and the hegemonic and colonial West.
A New Paradigm
Beyond ending energy poverty, the development of EACOP is just one part of the overall development paradigm emerging from the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa, Eurasia, and across the East and other “undeveloped sectors.”
By building EACOP, landlocked Uganda will have a global export market for its oil industry with access to the eastern coast of Africa through Tanzania. It can export oil to countries from South Africa to Pakistan, India, Myanmar, or China. China in particular will almost certainly wish to import Uganda crude, considering its massive stake in the project. Or otherwise, China and the EACOP exports may be part of mutually beneficial trade deals arranged with multiple cross-trade partners.
To maximize the opportunities for trade and cooperation between China and the nations of Africa, another issue must be addressed, which is needed to expand maritime traffic corridors. The Strait of Malacca, located between the Malaysian peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is one of the most highly congested and trafficked waterways in the world, due to its crucial geographic position as a connection point by sea between the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
With more economic cooperation between Africa and Asia, including growing African exports, the Strait of Malacca will have difficulty handling the extra traffic. This is where a profound application of human creativity and engineering is necessary. The proposed canal through the Isthmus of Kra in Thailand is an ambitious project that would greatly economize and expedite travel between East Africa and China as well as Cambodia, Vietnam, and even Russia. Creating the Kra Canal as part of the wider Belt and Road Initiative would mean a far more connected and cooperative Africa and the East, truly making East Africa the “Gateway to Africa” for the Eastern World.
The Belt and Road projects in Uganda and Tanzania are playing an interlocking role with other Win-Win developments such as those occurring in Pakistan with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the potential developments in Thailand with the Kra Canal.
(EIR and its founder, Lyndon LaRouche, have been involved in the promotion of the Kra Canal project since 1983. The June 2016 , “Kra Canal: ‘One of the Greatest Achievements of Modern History’,” provides a brief history of that organizing process, and an updated view of the possibilities in the BRI era.)
By working together on physical development and incentivizing “Peace Through Development” and Win-Win Cooperation, the BRI is spurring economic activity that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved and producing rapid improvements in the quality of life for citizens of involved countries. Essentially, China is exporting the physical economic approach that brought 850 million Chinese citizens out of poverty.
This is why the globalists in Washington, Wall Street, and the City of London are desperate to stop projects like EACOP. It shows why they are desperate to demand that African countries remain in energy poverty as a sacrifice to so-called “sustainable development goals.” Western oligarchs would rather “rule in hell than serve in heaven,” as Satan declares in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
The Gift of Fire
Today it is the West and the globalist oligarchs that represent Zeus, and it is China and the new “Win-Win” peace through development paradigm that represent Prometheus. The Belt and Road brings Humanity energy, the gift of fire, and the path forward to “be fruitful and multiply.”
Uganda has a right to fire. And the Ugandan government has a right and an obligation as a state to supply its people with abundant energy. Uganda must be sovereign to choose its own path to development, build its own nation, and end energy poverty. And it has thus far done so through its efforts to develop its oil and gas industry and the role it is playing in the Belt and Road Initiative.
With a functioning and prosperous oil and gas industry, Uganda will unlock the gift of fire.With Uganda now also in talks with Russia and China to develop a nuclear power industry, the prospects for a complete transformation of the African energy economy and the creation of a prosperous and energy-abundant future are on the horizon. If Uganda’s youth leadership can overcome and defeat the Green Fascist threat, Uganda’s young population has a bright future to look forward to.