Cabinet has approved the application by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited for a license for the construction of the 296 km long East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Uganda.
The State Minister of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance, Godfrey Baluku Kabbyanga, and officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development communicated the development at a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre on Thursday.
Kabbyanga said that; Cabinet approved the application on Monday, 9th January, 2023 indicating that the new corridor linking the two countries of Uganda and Tanzania will bring benefits including the development of new infrastructure, logistics, and technology transfer as well as improving the livelihoods of communities along the route.
“Cabinet approved an application for a license to construct the East African Crude Oil Pipeline popularly known as EACOP with the following benefits; one, commitment of both Governments of the Republic of Tanzania and Uganda to develop the EACOP project, Two, promoting transparency and sustainability between the two countries, Third, demonstrating joint commitment to develop the project in a harmonised manner.” Kabbyanga said.
Eng. Herbert Magezi Mugizi, the Principal Engineer in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) said the approval of the applicable license now grants the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited legal access to start actual construction.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline project will displace at least 118,348 persons (56,460 in Uganda and 61,889 in Tanzania).
However, challenges relating to land acquisition due to contestations of valuations by the project-affected persons (PAPs) still remain eminent.
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Eng. Magezi disclosed that close to 68 percent of the PAPs in Uganda have already been compensated while the pending compensations are expected to be concluded by the end of 2023.
” The Company now will legally be able to start the development and actual construction of the pipeline. There are some challenges with land acquisition, contestation of valuations by the Projected Affected Persons which we address case by case. There are issues of estates of deceased persons which need letters of administration. This is a very elaborate and long process but the project at its own cost is supporting these families to acquire letters of administration so that we have to pay the right person. With all that we should be able to have the corridor and start construction in the later part of this year.” Engineer Magezi said.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development says the engineering detail currently stands at 33 percent and major procurements have been awarded by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited for the purchase of line pipes, high voltage, and marine cables, among others.
The approved pipeline construction project that will consume about 2,740 acres was awarded to a private company, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited.
The overall 1,443 km pipeline runs from Hoima district to the Port neighboring Tanzania.
The crude oil project which is worth 13.248 trillion Shillings (USD 3.6 million) traverses 171 villages across 10 districts of Kabaale, Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Ggomba, Ssembabule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited has a shareholding of 62 percent from Total Energies while 15 percent will come from the host Government of Uganda through the National Oil Company.
Equally, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania owns 15 percent shares through the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), and 8 percent shares for China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) Uganda Ltd.
Notably, on September 15, 2022, the European Parliament passed a controversial “emergency resolution” by a large majority denouncing the consequences of Uganda’s oil projects citing specifically Tilenga and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.
The resolution called for the immediate suspension of drilling activities in the protected and sensitive ecosystem (Murchison Falls National Park) and the postponement of the EACOP project for at least one year to allow a feasibility study of an alternative path to preserve the environment.
However, two months later on November 2, 2022, the “emergency resolution” was overturned during the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean, Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) sitting in Maputo, Mozambique.
The Assembly voted to let Uganda proceed with developing the Pipeline Project.