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Total Hires Former Benin PM to Secure Land for Oil Pipeline in East Africa

The pipeline will permit Uganda to develop its oilfields which are mainly operated by the French company TotalEnergies. Projected project costs have soared to $5 billion and financing remains uncertain even though the project has been in the planning stages since 2013. The move to wrap up the land rights process by hiring Lionel Zinsou is a positive development. 98% of the households to be moved for the pipeline have already signed compensation agreements.

In a bid to address concerns surrounding its land purchases in Uganda and Tanzania, TotalEnergies, a leading French energy company, has appointed Lionel Zinsou, former Prime Minister of Benin, as a consultant. The assessment aims to evaluate the land acquisition processes related to the Tilenga oil and East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) projects, which have faced legal challenges from environmental activist groups and some also from local communities. The hiring of Lionel Zinsou reflects its commitment to transparency and responsible practices.

As the land acquisition process nears completion, Lionel Zinsou's consulting firm will assess various aspects, including the procedures employed, conditions for consultation, compensation and relocation of affected individuals, and the handling of grievances. The comprehensive evaluation aims to provide a thorough understanding of the socio-economic impact of the projects. The evaluation report is expected to be submitted by April 2024.

The Tilenga oilfields project in Uganda, jointly operated by TotalEnergies (56.67%), CNOOC (28.33%), and UNOC (15%), involves the acquisition of 6,400 hectares for oil production. The EACOP, transporting oil to Tanzania's port of Tanga, is a cross-border pipeline project with TotalEnergies (62%), UNOC (15%), TPDC (15%), and CNOOC (8%) as shareholders.




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