Leaders set deadline on Kenya-Uganda pipeline

President Uhuru Kenyatta with South Sudan President Salva Kiir during the Integration Project Summit at Urugwiro Village in Kigali, Rwanda. Regional leaders on Monday agreed to fast-track the construction of an oil pipeline between Kenya and Uganda. Photo\PSCU

Regional leaders on Monday agreed to fast-track the construction of an oil pipeline between Kenya and Uganda.

At the conclusion of a meeting Kigali under the auspices of the Third Integration Project Summit, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan set the November 30 deadline for contribution of monies meant for a study on the practicability of the project.

A joint communiqué issued after the meeting indicated that “partner States shall remit their contributions to the cost of the feasibility study by November 30th, 2013.”

The money is to be kept in a specific bank account opened with the National Bank of Rwanda.

The Summit of the four country’s presidents which has been dubbed a “coalition of the willing” also agreed to conclude talks with potential developers for the Eldoret-Kampala pipeline segment.

Although this deadline means regional leaders are keen on having a working pipeline before 2018 when oil production is expected to start in Uganda, further talks would be carried out between Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan on whether to have a joint development of the pipeline project.

FURTHER CONSULTATIONS

“The summit directed that…further consultations to be carried out between the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Kenya and the Republic of South Sudan on the joint development of the crude oil pipeline project,” the communiqué said in part.

The envisioned pipeline, if completed, is expected to run 1,500 kilometres from Uganda near Lake Albert to the proposed Lamu port in Kenya.

But President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Salva Kiir of South Sudan were meeting for the third time to see if the pipeline could be linked with the $22 billion (Sh1.8 trillion) LAPSETT project to which South Sudan is a party.

LAPSETT, often called Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor in long, is an ambitious infrastructure project conceived last year between Kenya, Ethiopia South Sudan and Uganda to help utilise the potential of Lamu port.

The leaders received a report from a joint committee of their ministers on the construction of the Eldoret-Kampala pipeline.

The four countries have recently been discussing the possibility of having linking highways, Standard Gauge Railways, connecting pipelines, ICT investments, joint travel regulations for visitors as well as joint security management programmes.

But at the Kigali meeting, the leaders concluded that South Sudan would be given more time to indicate which of the projects it would it want to be part of.

The oil pipeline between Kenya and Uganda could be an investment resulting from discovery of oil in Kenya’s Turkana County and Uganda’s Lake Albert region.

A Kenyan oil executive told the East African that the proposed pipeline is “becoming an immediate necessity” because the two countries are under pressure to get quotations from potential developers ahead of the 2017 deadline.

But sources have told the same paper that South Sudan would be considering which, transporting its oil through Kenya or Djibouti, would offer the best solution.

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