Fifteen banks now steering clear of East African oil project, says Just Share

8th February 2022 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

JOHANNESBURG ( – Four out of five of South Africa’s largest lenders have confirmed that they will not be involved in the financing of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project, taking the total number of non-participating commercial banks globally to 15.

Shareholder activism organisation Just Share stated in a media release on Tuesday that FirstRand, ABSA, Nedbank and Investec were the latest banks to state that they are not involved in the financing of the project being developed by France’s Total and China’s CNOOC.

The 1 443 km pipeline will, according to the project’s website, carry 216 000 barrels of crude oil a day, or 10.9-million metric tons a year, at ‘plateau production’ level.

Based on calculations relating to the specific fuel density of the blend, emissions from the use of this fuel would be at least 34.3-million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent a year ­­­– around seven times the current emissions of Uganda and Tanzania, the release stated.

Just Share said a representative of South Africa’s second-largest bank, FirstRand, had confirmed to BankTrack that it was “not participating”, including under its Rand Merchant Bank and First National Bank divisions.

Just Share stated further that South Africa’s third and fourth largest banks, ABSA and Nedbank, had also confirmed their non-involvement, as had Investec, but that Standard Bank was now the only major South African bank still holding on to the option of financing the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

Ireen Twongirwe of the Women for a Green Economy Movement indicated that Standard Bank could do better by rather turning its attention to the region’s green economic sectors such as tourism, clean energy and agriculture. "Estimates by the Ugandan government show that if invested in, these sectors can create nearly four-million jobs,” Twongirwe was quoted as saying.