Tanzania makes headway in Uganda pipeline deal

12Apr 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Tanzania makes headway in Uganda pipeline deal
  • Kenyans refuse to sign joint document

Tanzania has continued to make headway in its efforts to convince Uganda to pass its oil pipeline through the country after the latter’s team of experts last weekend endorsed the former’s proposal on the project.

Uganda pipeline

According to a statement released yesterday by the ministry of energy and minerals, the meeting held on Saturday in Kampala, Uganda, was attended by teams of expert from Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, which is lobbying hard to get the project.

Negotiation and lobbying teams from the three neighbouring East African Community states are hard at work following the disagreement among three players involved in the project namely the French oil company Total, Britain’s Tullow Oil and China’s CNOOC.

According to the statement, the Tanzanian team which included ministry of energy and minerals Permanent Secretary Prof Justin Ntalikwa and his deputy Eng. Dr Juliana Pallangyo, and experts from the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) and their counterparts from the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), made a compelling case as to why the infrastructure should pass through Tanzania.

The team made a case that the proposed 1400-km pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to the port of Tanga should pass through the country owing to its experience in such projects, citing examples of the legendary 1,710-km Tanzania Zambia Mafuta Pipeline (Tazama), SongoSongo—Dar es Salaam gas pipeline, Mnazi Bay—Mtwara and the main pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam as success stories.

Their Kenya counterparts had nothing to offer that matched that experience, the statement said.

But the Uganda team was further convinced when Tanzanian experts explained the land policy that allows the state to acquire and compensate citizens without much ado compared to Kenya where land, apart from being scarce, is held by private individuals, meaning the acquisition can be a daunting task.

“At the end of the meeting, Kenyan participants reportedly refused to sign the minutes in protest of Ugandans preference of Tanzanian route instead of Kenya,” the statement reads.

Tanzania is selling the operational Tanga port as the best route to pump Ugandan crude oil which is expected to flow to international markets in 2018 while Kenya is campaigning for its yet-to-be-built Lamu port.

The Tanga route remains the most cost effective, according to Total E & P Uganda general manager Adewate Fayeni.

Fayeni said last recently that as far as the company is concerned all the options have been evaluated carefully and the least cost remains the Tanga route.

"As a company, our position remains that we are going through to Tanga route, I understand there are issues being discussed but our position remains the same," Fayemi told an East African Oil and Gas conference in Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania has maintained that the agreement entered recently with Uganda for the construction of the pipeline was conclusive despite ongoing jostling by Kenya for the project.

According to the presidency’s acting director of communications Gerson Msigwa, maneuvers by high-level officials in Kenya to try to snatch the project from Tanzania will eventually prove futile.

“The Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation and Ministry of Energy and Minerals are already carrying out tangible activities in relation to this project,” Msigwa said.