Uganda is planning to build a 1,400km oil pipeline from its fields in western region to the east Africa coastline through Tanzania, with an investment of about $4bn (£2.8bn).
East African Community (EAC) leaders recently agreed a plan which involves the development of two crude oil pipelines that included one from Lokichar to Lamuin Kenya and another from Hoima, Uganda to Tanga on Tanzania’s coast, a port on the Indian Ocean.
In 2015, Uganda announced its plan to build pipeline from western region around Hoima through Kenya, linking its fields in Lokichar and on to Lamu on Kenya’s north coast.
However, the pipeline route has been changed from Hoima to Tanga due to security concerns.
Concerns were raised by France’s Total, one of the oil firms involved in the development of the field in Uganda, as the pipeline could have run near Somalia, the place used by militants to launch their attacks on Kenya, Reuters reported.
The latest decision will enable the Uganda and Kenya pipelines to be developed independently, said Kenyan Lands Minister Jacob Kaimenyi.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa as saying that: "We considered Tanga oil pipeline route based on a number of aspects – among them it is the least cost."
UK-based Tullow Oil, said that the Kenyan route would be cheaper. The firm has stakes in projects in both the countries.
Tullow spokesman George Cazenove said: "While we have always believed that a joint Uganda-Kenya export pipeline was the most cost-effective option, we are clear that both Uganda and Kenya’s oil resources can be developed separately."
The firm plans to work with both the governments for the development of the two pipeline projects.
Production from the Uganda’s field, which is estimated to have oil reserves of about 6.5bn barrels, is likely to commence in 2018, reported BBC.
Image: Uganda initially planned to build pipeline from Hoima through Kenya to Lamu on Kenya’s north coast. Photo: courtesy of supakitmod/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.