Construction of the Uganda-Tanzania crude oil export pipeline is planned to start in January next year, Uganda's Energy minister Irene Muloni has said.
Ms Muloni, who led the Ugandan team that held closed door discussions with the Tanzanian delegation in Hoima Town on Tuesday, told the media that the two countries had agreed to fast-track the project which will cover 1,443 kilometres.
The construction of the pipeline, meant to export the Ugandan crude oil to the international market, is planned to be finalised by 2020. Oil explorers have discovered more than 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil reserves from about 40 per cent of the Albertine basin in western Uganda.
Uganda's new round of oil exploration licensing may see the country increasing its petroleum reserves, if the surveys prove positive.
"Every activity in respect to the project will be done in a fast tracking mode. We have agreed to meet in Tanga (Tanzania) in October this year to launch the front-end-engineering-design for the project," Ms Muloni told the press at Miika Eco Resort and Hotel, where the meeting was held.
She added that feasibility studies estimate the project to cost $3.55 billion. Land acquisition assessments, surveys, environmental and social impact studies will be conducted before construction starts.
She said a pipeline company will be set up and Uganda, Tanzania and other interested East African states will have shares in it.
"The pipeline is very attractive and viable. Securing financing will be explored in much detail. Contacts are being made to potential funders," Ms Muloni said.
Shortest possible time
Uganda and Tanzania political leaders and technocrats agreed to name the pipeline project reflecting the East African Community and the second ministerial meeting endorsed, East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
According to Ms Muloni, the meeting also endorsed the use of the colours of the East African community flag in the newly-created logo for the project since it is regional and it is open to other countries in the region to join.
"The ministerial meeting agreed to develop a project schedule and work modalities to expedite necessary approvals including; land access, environmental and social aspects, routing, project agreements and other activities requiring national or local government consents," a joint communique signed by Ms Muloni and her Tanzanian counterpart, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, reads in part.
Prof Muhongo said he had instructions from the Tanzanian President to ensure that the project is achieved in the shortest possible time.
Source: The East African