Kenya-Tanzania row over oil pipeline deal

26 March 2016, Kampala — With one of them set to lose out on the proposed multi-billion dollar crude oil export pipeline deal from Uganda, a rift has developed between neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania.

Uganda Energy-Minister-Irene-Muloni

Irene Muloni, Uganda Energy Minister

Tanzanian authorities, it emerged, confiscated the passports of Kenyan energy secretary (minister), Charles Keter, Petroleum principal secretary, Andrew Kamau and energy principal secretary Joseph Njoroge and Lapsset CEO Sylvester Kasuku, and denied them access to the port of Tanga.

The Kenyan officials were in company of the Ugandan team led by Energy Minister Irene Muloni and other technical personnel, who were tasked early this week at a meeting between President Museveni and his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta to analyse the cost-benefit of the proposed routes for the multi-billion dollar pipeline infrastructure.

According to Daily Nation, our sister newspaper, the Tanzanian “officials took away the travel documents” reportedly in reciprocation of Kenya’s failure to invite a team from Tanzania to Lamu port, when the Ugandan team had toured or to the Monday’s Nairobi State House talks.

“They [have] also refused us entry into the port of Tanga,” Mr Njoroge told Daily Nation.

The Kenyan and Ugandan officials started with the inspection of the port at Lamu, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. This is the first proposed route destination of the pipeline from the Albertine Graben/Hoima via Kenya’s Lokichar oil belt at Lokichar, to the coast.

The route to Lamu is approximately 1,300 km (808 mile) with a tagged cost of $4.5b (approx. Shs14.9t). The port is part of Kenya’s ambitious Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, poised to be the country’s second transport corridor after the Mombasa port corridor.

The second proposed route is from Hoima snaking down south to Tanzania via Masaka to Bukoba to the Tanga port at the Indian Ocean. The route measures approximately 1,403kilometer (876-miles) pegged on a cost of $4b (Shs13t), according to earlier studies.

Uganda has since last year been oscillating between her two neighbours with the pipeline deal, one of the key infrastructures required besides a mid-size [30,000 barrels per day] refinery, as the three international oil companies, UK’s Tullow, France’s Total and China’s Cnooc, make preparations to leap to the next phase of field development/production. The pipeline will facilitate exportation of oil to the international market.

Uganda has a long-standing trade relationship with Kenya to the East while Tanzania is a long-standing political/historical ally to the South. Over 90 per cent of Ugandan cargo, according to ministry of Trade data, goes through the Mombasa port and about 2 per cent goes through the Dar es Salaam port.

  • The Minitor (Uganda)
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