Oil Pipeline Project: Uganda and Tanzania Officials Meet to set Completion Timeframe

Uganda and Tanzania are working to expedite the completion of the crude oil export pipeline before 2020, a latest communique has suggested.

The announcement came on a backdrop of a stake holders engagement workshop between petroleum officials from both countries in Dar es Salaam. The meeting follows a decision by Uganda to route its oil southwards to Tanzania’s Port Tanga as opposed to Kenya.

“Uganda and Tanzania reiterated the strategic nature of the project and concurred on the target completion date or the commercial operations date 2019/20”, Uganda Ministry of Energy said in statement.

Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) also said that both nations established a joint project management team comprising of technocrats from both sides and oil companies to oversee the fast-tracking of the project.

The two governments according to the statement also re-affirmed the implementation of the project as a Public Private Partnership with Total EP as the leader of the consortium. The nations will then form a pipeline Company  (PipeCo) and related institutions to enable smooth flow of oil exportation activities.

However, it is still not clear how the shareholding in the Public Private Partnership will be (is) structured.

Following a meeting between Total Chief Executive Rielo Javier and Tanzania president John Magufuli, the French giant indicated it had set aside $4 billion to fund the project.

The project development team is expected to meet in the Western district of Hoima to develop a project schedule and work out plans to expedite all necessary approvals including land access, project agreements  and the environmental impact assessment.

An environmental campaigner Serengeti Watch had earlier raised concerns about route saying it was planned to pass through lake Victoria, Serengeti National park, and other eco-sensitive areas. The impact of such an oil pipeline on the group said would be catastrophic and end the migration of wildlife.

“The pipeline and accompanying road would be a barrier for migrating wildlife and a high risk area for oil spills” the group reacted.

Authorities in Tanzania said in a statement that the oil pipeline will avoid “passing through areas with high population, hills and conservation precincts, including game and forest reserves as well as National Parks”,

“The nearly 1,500 kilometres long proposed pipeline linking the country’s Tanga port to Uganda’s Lake Albert Basin, will not traverse through Serengeti National Park as some online groups have been trying to insinuate” Tanzanian Petroleum authorities said at the pick of the oil pipeline negotiations.

In an email conversation with Uganda oil, the co director of Serengeti  Watch David Blanton said the organisation is satisfied with the routing plan as long as East Africa’s tourism pride is free from the traditional risks associated with the pipeline.

“We have no opposition to a Uganda-Tanga pipeline. We hope that such a resource will bring benefits the people of both countries”, Blanton said.

Uganda oil has also learnt that Tanzania wants to acquire an 8% stake in  Uganda Oil refinery.

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