KAMPALA, The three foreign oil companies which have signed production sharing agreements with the ugandan government -- the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), Total E&P of France and Tullow Oil of Britain -- have announced plans to begin detailed planning and execution of a series of activities following the laying of the foundation stone for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project over the weekend.

President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart, President John Magufuli, laid the foundation stone for the 1,445-kilometre pipeline at Chongoleani in Tanga region (province) on Saturday. the pipeline will transport the crude from the oilfields in western Uganda to Tanga port on the Indian Ocean.

The two leaders are also expected to lay another foundation stone at the pipeline's western terminus in Hoima in western Uganda in few days' time. The pipeline will be expected to move 216,000 barrels of oil per day to the international market from oilfields around Hoima.

Following the (laying of foundation stone) milestone, the Joint Venture partners will embark on a journey of detailed planning and execution..the already ongoing studies such as Environment and Social Impact Assessments and Front End Engineering Design for the EACOP project, the oil companies said in a joint statement here Monday.

The three companies are partners in Uganda's upstream petroleum sector which includes exploration and production. The joint venture partners stated that they appreciate the efforts by Ugandan and Tanzanian governments in enabling the timely achievement of the development and commercialization of Uganda's oil resources.

Uganda has discovered 6.5 billion barrels of petroleum resources in the 40 per cent of the potential area in the Albertine region. Between 1.4 and 1.7 billion of the discovered petroleum resources can be pumped out of the ground. The oil firms said the laying of the foundation stone for the world's longest electrically heated pipeline following the signing of the inter-governmental agreement is a landmark development in the history of both countries.

It signifies their (countries) commitment towards the fast tracked development of the 1,445km crude oil pipeline that will transport Uganda's oil from Kabaale, Hoima in Uganda to the Chongoleani Peninsula near Tanga Port in Tanzania, they added.

The three companies will undertake the construction of the pipeline at an estimated cost of 3.55 billion US dollars, and the infrastructure is expected to boost foreign direct investment for Uganda and Tanzania by about 60 per cent, according to the oil firms. Uganda and Tanzania have indicated interest to hold shares in the pipeline.



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