Kenya Uganda Presidents to agree on crude oil pipeline route in 2 weeks

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni today met alongside with their technical teams to discuss the construction of the Uganda-Kenya oil pipeline that has for the past month hit headlines after Uganda and Tanzania agreed a route through Tanzania to the Tanga Port.

According to a communiqué from the meeting signed by Kenya’s cabinet secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Charles Keter and Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Irene Muloni among topics discussed included:

  • Ensuring the least cost of option for the pipeline
  • Addressing constructability issues along all routes (northern route: through the oilfields in lokichar, southern route through Kenya’s Nakuru town with a loop from Lokichar as well as a route from Hoima to Tanga)– existing and planned infrastructure, terrain and elevations
  • Assessing and confirming the current proven reserves, which will have an impact on the size of the pipeline
  • Viability of the port of Lamu, Mombasa and Tanga as export options

We did not conclude and we have asked the ministers and senior officials to look at a number of issues we raised and to be ready to brief us within the next two weeks. We have made it very clear to both teams this two weeks is it one way or another to make a decision a decision  that should be in the interest of the people of Uganda, Kenya and East Africa at large,” Uhuru Kenyatta told journalist following the discussions.

The two presidents agreed that they will meet in the next two weeks in Kampala to allow their technical issues to harmonize their presentations on the above issues.

Later in an interview Kenya’s principal secretary for the state department of petroleum Andrew Kamau said he was hopeful that the two countries would settle on the earlier agreed route as studies by lead consultant Toyota Tshusho had shown it was the cheapest route.

According to the PS a shared pipeline by both countries would see costs at just $9 a barrel as compared to Uganda and Kenya going it alone where costs for the latter would shoot to $14 a barrel.

“It is inconceivable that two brothers who have been cooperating together for a long time would end up paying more because they couldn’t agree on a shared infrastructure.

Total E&P is pushing for the Tanga route mostly citing security issues in the Northern route and has already set aside $4 billion for the construction process expected to start in August while Tullow Oil the operator in Kenya’s and Uganda’s oil fields favors the Kenyan route citing sharing of costs among the many partners.

The meeting today confirms Kenya’s views that the Tanzania pipeline route with Uganda was not a done deal or is it?

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