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Tanzania gov’t urges Uganda to fast-track oil pipeline

Tanzania Government has expressed concern over delays in the development of the Hoima-Tanga crude oil pipeline, Tanzania Minister for Energy and Mineral Development Prof. Sospeter Muhongo has revealed.

Speaking at the launch of the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project ( EACOP) in Kampala, Prof. Muhongo expressed distress stating that the implementation of the project had been delayed for two months.

“We [Tanzania government] are not happy with the speed at which the project is moving. The launch of FEED was supposed to have been done in November, 2016 and I hope that Uganda can fast-track this process with the contractors to ensure that it is completed within the time frame,” he noted.

He argued that the land acquisition in Uganda is complex compared to Tanzania since in the latter; land belongs to government and is vested in the President making it less strenuous for the project.

The biggest part of the pipeline will be in Tanzania, something that will make land acquisition for the project easy,” he said.

The FEED study; a fundamental step that will provide detailed engineering design for the pipeline, will be undertaken for eight months by Gulf Interstate Engineering, a Houston, Texas based company and is projected to cost $11.5 (about shs 42bn).

According to Hon. Irene Muloni, Uganda’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, the study is expected to identify the actual route and technical designs for the crude oil pipeline as well the estimated cost for the project.

Muloni explained that President Yoweri Museveni has issued a directive to her ministry to ensure ‘first oil’ by 2020.

Due to the presidential directive, both the oil refinery and crude oil export pipeline will be attended to concurrently and the FEED study shows a clear determination of government to have ‘first oil’ by 2020,” she said.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP) is speared-headed by Total E&P Uganda Limited on behalf of the joint venture oil companies and will see  construction of a 1,445 Kilometer, 24 inch diameter heated crude oil pipeline.

Muloni further stated that preliminary studies have put the cost of crude oil pipeline at $3.55 billion dollars, but the FEED study is expected to establish the actual cost of the project and hence inform the governments of Uganda and Tanzania as well as joint venture companies to reach a Final Investment Decisions (FID).

According to Jean – Luc Bruggeman, Total’s Mid Stream Project Director, the crude oil pipeline once completed, will be the world’s longest heated pipeline and will require six heating stations from Kabaale to Tanga, a heat tracing system; an electrical cable within the pipeline to keep the temperatures at 50 degrees to enable the oil flow,  a fibre optic cable for communications and a high voltage power line.

The Governments of Uganda and Tanzania in partnership with the Lake Albert Upstream Partners (Total, Tullow and CNOOC) last year opted for the Hoima-Tanga route after conducting a feasibility study for the LAPSSET Corridor.

Report by Edward Ssekika.