A team from Kenya Oil ministry assigned to a fact finding mission on the viability of Uganda Oil Pipeline export routes suffered setbacks after allegedly being denied entry into Port of Tanga by Tanzania Officials.
The team was created following a meeting between Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and Kenya’s Leader Uhuru Kenyatta, respective oil ministry officials and industrial players held in Nairobi. The talks were held to resolve the deadlock on Uganda Oil Pipeline Project.
The officials from both countries were tasked to do feasibility studies on a least cost pipeline route, construction technicalities, approving the Oil reserves to determine the pipeline size, and the viability of ports; Tanga in Tanzania, Mombasa and Lamu in Kenya.
However, Kenyan officials led by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, said their travel documents were confiscated by Tanzanian authorities as they tried to access the port of Tanga.
Its alleged that Tanzania only granted access to Ugandan technical team led by Uganda Energy Minister Irene Muloni.
Kenya Petroleum Principle Secretary Andrew Kamau who was part of the delegation confirmed that the passports of his team were confiscated upon arrival in Tanga. The port is the proposed potential exit point for Uganda’s crude oil.
“We are basically captives here. They have refused to give us back our passports for about one hour. They have also refused us entry into the port of Tanga,” Kamau told the media.
“They only allowed the Uganda delegation into the port,” he added.
The talks between Uganda and Kenya over a crude Export pipeline closed without bearing fruit as indecision on the viable port to export crude still hovers over Uganda.
In August 2015, both nations announced signature of a memorandum of understanding to commence construction of 1400km Pipeline from Uganda’s Oil-rich Albertine graben to Lokichar basin to Port Lamu. Uganda changed mind and announced it has commenced studies with Tanzania to construct a joint pipeline to Port Tanga.
Tanzania is already enlightened with the move which it says will employ over 15000 of its nationals.
Oil companies carrying out exploration in Uganda had warned that Uganda’s plans to start extracting crude oil for export in 2018 could be delayed if it goes ahead with the Kenya deal. The firms are Total, Tullow Oil plc and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC).
However, Tullow Oil plc has since denied having a hand in the study.
“Tullow has publicly expressed its view that whereas both the Northern and Southern routes through Kenya are technically viable, its own analysis of the different pipeline routings shows that the northern route is the most cost-effective for both Kenyan and Ugandan crude oil,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile Kenyan Technical Team visited port Lamu especially , the site where the first three berths of the port are to be constructed.
They later held a closed-door meeting with the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor stakeholders