DAR ES SALAAM, -- Officials from Uganda and Tanzania has convened for the first time to discuss work plan for the development of the proposed 8.7 trillion/-crude oil export pipeline.

The Ugandan Minister for Energy and Minerals Development, Eng Irene Muloni, told reporters in Dar es Salaam that the meeting held at Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, cleared a path for the commencement of the crucial project that would benefit both countries.

"Today marks the beginning of the commencement of the pipeline, we need support from everyone including communities and the media, so that plans put in place can succeed," she noted in their first meeting focused on defining the project structure and its timeline in which they want it to be completed before 2020.

The 1,400km pipeline will run from Hoima District in the Albertine Graben through Masaka and Mutukula in Uganda to Bukoba, Biharamulo, Shinyanga and finally to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga in Tanzania.

The meeting was attended by officials from companies with stake in the discovered oil in Uganda, including Total E&P of France, Tullow Oil of United Kingdom as well as China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, said that the meeting was in response to a directive by heads of state of the two countries who wished to see the project taking off immediately.

"We will be having another meeting on 26 May in Hoima, in which experts will present to us further steps to take in accomplishing this work," said Prof Muhongo. According to Eng Muloni, the oil pipeline construction work will also involve building an oil refinery plant which will cost about 4.7bn/-.

The government of Tanzania will be involved in its construction through the Public Private Partnership (PPP). Prof Muhongo said 40 per cent of the shares in the oil refinery construction have been given to East African Countries (EAC) which means each country will have eight per cent of shares. Expounding further, he said the shares will cost Tanzania 150.4bn/-.

Mechanism on proper way to buy them was being put in place and that the private sector will be involved in the process, he added. Last Saturday, Uganda chose the Tanzanian route to export its crude oil amid competition from Kenya, which also wanted to clinch the deal to transport oil to yet to be constructed Lamu Port in North-Eastern Kenya.

President Yoweri Museveni made the decision to construct the pipeline through Tanzania during the 13th Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) Summit in Kampala, which was also attended by President Paul Kagame and Uhuru Kenyatta of Rwanda and Kenya, respectively.

The envisaged pipeline through Tanzania will be of benefit not only to Uganda and Tanzania but other countries in the region such as Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC).



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