Days after Tanzania and Uganda are said to have agreed on a more southern route that would avoid Kenya’s oil rich Lokichar basin the latter’s finance and energy cabinet secretaries are putting a brave face saying it is not a done deal.
According to finance CS Henry Rotich and Energy CS Charles Keter despite the said agreement between Tanzania’s president John Maghufuli and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni the pipeline project is a regional project in the fate of all East African Community states.
They insist that the pipeline remains among the core issues to be discussed during the forthcoming EAC summit set for later this month.
This is despite a pronouncement by the Director General of the Tanzania Petroleum development Corporation Dr. James Matarajio who says the construction of the 1403km $4billion pipeline will commence this August.
“Uganda and Total have chosen us after they got satisfied that we have already conducted such projects, including the Tanzania Zambia Mafuta (Oil) Pipeline (Tazama), a similar projects at Songo Songo and Mnazi Bay as well as the just completed Mtwara-Dar es Salaam Gas pipeline,” Matarajio is quoted by Tanzania’s The Citizen Daily.
The two government officials also add that Kenya remained a major stakeholder in the project expected to build a connecting part of the line from the Ugandan border through the Lokichar Oil fields to Eldoret where it shall be linked to the Eldoret-Nairobi-Mombasa pipeline.
Other infrastructure is also being developed as part of the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor.
Meanwhile the Energy CS reiterated that Kenya will start exportation of crude oil in the by 2017 with discussions ongoing to have the road and rail networks ready for evacuation.
According to Keter Kenya will begin with 2000 barrels a day even as it awaits the construction of the pipeline.