Construction of world’s longest crude oil pipeline begins in TZ

Work on the Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline – a Vision 2030 flagship project – started in July 2014. PHOTO/FILE
The pipeline is expected to move 216,000 barrels of oil per day. PHOTO/FILE
Tanzania and Uganda have jointly launched construction works for a $3.55 billion (Sh355 billion) heated oil pipeline to pump the latter’s crude oil to the global markets in three years.

The pipeline project, which is being undertaken by Total SA, kicked off in earnest on August 5 after Tanzania’s president John Magufuli and his Ugandan equivalent Yoweri Museveni laid its foundation stone at Chongoleani peninsula, near the Tanga port in Tanzania.

The two leaders are expected to launch works for the project at Hoima by end of the year.

At 1,445 kilometres, the Uganda-Tanzania crude oil pipeline will be “the longest electrically heated crude oil pipeline in the world,” according to Adewale Fayemi, Total country manager for Uganda.

“It’s a record,” Mr Fayemi told Reuters in a recent interview, adding that the facility will open a new phase of economic development in East Africa on its completion in 2020.

The Uganda-Tanzania crude oil pipeline will be heated so as to keep the highly gummy crude liquid enough to flow. The facility will move Uganda’s crude oil from Kabaale, in the western Hoima region, to Chongoleani in Tanzania.

The 24-inch diameter pipeline is expected to move 216,000 barrels of oil per day at a cost of $12.2 (about Sh1260) per barrel. This will save Uganda $3.7 (Sh385) per barrel compared to an earlier plan to build a pipeline from Hoima to Lamu in Kenya at a cost of $5 billion (Sh520 billion).

Following Uganda’s decision to take the Tanzania route, Kenya will now build a Sh2.1 billion pipeline covering 855 kilometres from South Lokichar in Turkana to the port of Lamu.

READ: Kenya, Uganda to build world’s longest heated oil pipeline

Details of financing of the Uganda-Tanzania crude oil pipeline are still not clear, but Total – which is one of the owners of Uganda oilfields, together with China’s Cnooc and Britain’s Tullow Oil – had earlier indicated that it was willing to fund the project.

Uganda’s crude reserves, which were discovered at Hoima in 2006, are estimated at 6.5 billion barrels, while recoverable reserves are likely between 1.4 billion and 1.7 billion barrels.

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