Tanzania has agreed with Uganda to accelerate the implementation of a crude oil pipeline project between the two east African nations, and award the construction contract to multiple contractors, Reuters reported. The decision was reached during talks between Tanzanian President, John Magufuli, and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, in Kampala, Magufuli’s office said in a statement.
“I suggest we use the design and construct model to speed up implementation of the 1,410 km pipeline project … and award contracts to five or six different contractors to build different sections of the pipeline at the same time,” Magufuli’s office quoted him as saying. “By doing that we will significantly reduce the time needed to build the oil pipeline and the entire project can be completed within just one year.”
After long conversations, Uganda said last April it would build a pipeline for its oil through Tanzania rather than Kenya, which had wanted to secure the export route. Picking a route is vital for oil firms to make final investment decisions on developing reserves found in Uganda and Kenya, which are among a string of hydrocarbon finds on Africa’s eastern seaboard. Tanzania has found gas offshore.
In fact, France’s Total, London-listed Tullow Oil and China’s CNOOC have been pushing for a decision on a pipeline. Uganda discovered crude near its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo 10 years ago, but has yet to start production after repeated delays.
At that time, The Guardian wrote, Uganda said a pipeline between Kabaale, in Hoima district, and Tanga, of about 1,400km, will be the most cost-effective route when Uganda begins exporting oil by 2020. By his side, having had a pipeline route through Kenya rejected by Uganda, Kenya plans to build a pipeline from Lokichar in its oil-rich Turkana region to Lamu, where it is building a port, close to the border with Somalia.