Total SA has funds to build a pipeline linking oil fields in landlocked Uganda with a port on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast, the Tanzanian government said, after its president met with an official from the French company.
Total’s Vice President for East Africa, Javier Rielo, “assured President John Magufuli that the company will begin construction of the crude-oil pipeline project from Uganda to the Tanga port as quickly as possible because there is money for the project,” the presidency said Monday in an e-mailed statement.
A Total spokesman declined to comment on today’s meeting. He referred to a December statement in which France’s oil major expressed its preference for a pipeline transporting crude through Tanzania, based on cost, reliability and safety assumptions for the infrastructure.
Tanzania will also benefit from the pipeline should companies prospecting in the center of the country and in Lake Tanganyika strike oil, Minister of Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo said in the statement.
Kenya, which has been trying to sign an agreement for Uganda’s oil to flow through its territory, has dismissed assertions that the infrastructure would be routed through Tanzania. A link via Kenya could cost an estimated $4.5 billion.
Tullow, which has oil discoveries in Uganda and Kenya of around 2.3 billion barrels, would favor the route via Kenya. “It is clear that, due to obvious economies of scale, a joint pipeline connecting the two major oil resources in East Africa is the lowest cost-option for both Uganda and for Kenya,” Tullow spokesman George Cazenove said by e-mail.
Ugandan oil is also being developed by China National Offshore Oil Corp.