Uganda crude oil pipeline should go the Tanga way, says Total boss

President Uhuru Kenyatta meets Uganda President Yoweri Museveni at Entebbe State House, Uganda, on August 9, 2015. Total E&P Uganda has affirmed its commitment to construct the $4 billion crude oil pipeline through Tanga despite ongoing talks between Kenya and Uganda to have it pass through the the country. Kenyan and Ugandan officials are touring Lamu and Lokichar, following a decision by President Kenyatta and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to have all possible routes reviewed and harmonised. PHOTO | PSCU.

What you need to know:

  • Total is UK Tullow Oil’s partner in the Ugandan oil fields and the main financier of the operations. China National Offshore Oil Companies is also a partner.
  • The firms are eyeing production of an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of Uganda’s crude oil by 2018.
  • The routes that could be explored by Kenya and Uganda in construction of the crude oil pipeline are; the southern route through Nairobi from Uganda to Mombasa and the northern one through Hoima, Lokichar Lamu.
  • Uganda and Tanzania, on the other hand, could construct the pipeline from the Albertine basin in western Uganda to the port of Tanga.
  • Total’s stand on the issue comes as President Uhuru Kenyatta considers negotiating for the Lamu route through his host President François Hollande during his April trip to France.

Total E&P Uganda has affirmed its commitment to construct the $4 billion crude oil pipeline through Tanga despite ongoing talks between Kenya and Uganda to have it pass through here.

The company’s general manager Adewale Fayemi said at the two-day East Africa Oil and Gas conference in Tanzania.

“As a company, our position remains that we are going through Tanga. I understand there are issues being discussed but our position remains the same,” Fayemi said.

He said all available options have been carefully considered and the firm is more interested in the Tanga route, which will be cheaper for oil production.

Total is UK Tullow Oil’s partner in the Ugandan oil fields and the main financier of the operations. China National Offshore Oil Companies is also a partner.

The firms are eyeing production of an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of Uganda’s crude oil by 2018.

The routes that could be explored by Kenya and Uganda in construction of the crude oil pipeline are; the southern route through Nairobi from Uganda to Mombasa and the northern one through Hoima, Lokichar Lamu.

Uganda and Tanzania, on the other hand, could construct the pipeline from the Albertine basin in western Uganda to the port of Tanga.

GO IT ALONE

Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge, however, said that if all fails, Kenya could go it alone on the crude oil pipeline; “We will build an oil pipeline, whether we are together with the Ugandans or not.”

Total’s stand on the issue comes as President Uhuru Kenyatta considers negotiating for the Lamu route through his host President François Hollande during his April trip to France.

At the moment, Kenyan and Ugandan officials are touring Lamu and Lokichar, following a decision by President Kenyatta and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to have all possible routes reviewed and harmonised.

In the tour, the team is looking at the terrain, technical and economic aspects of three possible routes through Tanga in Tanzania, Lamu or Mombasa port in Kenya.

Since Total is a major financier in Uganda’s crude oil, its current stand on the pipeline could water down a meeting by Presidents Kenyatta and Museveni set for next week.

Moreover, the turn of events follows an announcement by Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) Executive Director James Mataragio, that France had readied $4 billion to begin construction of the pipeline by August and have it completed in two years.

A statement provided by the World News Report states that Mr Daniel Kiptoo, the legal adviser of the Cabinet secretary for Energy and Petroleum responded to Total, noting that Kenya’s concerns on the crude oil pipeline would be addressed within the EAC.

“Kenya is open to any least cost route available, whatever the case, we will go it together as East Africans,” Mr Kiptoo is quoted as saying.

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