KAMPALA, January 12, 2024 – Government is seeking Shs 2.5 billion to deploy the Uganda People’s Defence Force [UPDF] to secure the East African Crude Oil Pipeline [ EACOP ].
This was disclosed by the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Vincent Ssempijja who appeared before parliament’s Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs yesterday.
The EACOP is a pipeline that will transport oil produced from Uganda’s Lake Albert oilfields to the port of Tanga in Tanzania.
The pipeline is buried and once topsoil and vegetation have been re-instated, people and animals will be able to cross freely anywhere along its length.
“Tanzania is ready; they have budgeted for security of the pipeline but Uganda is not . This is still a thorn in our back; it is an unfunded priority,”Ssempijja said.
Ssempijja who was defending the Defence Ministry’s 2024/2024 budget said that while his ministry requires Shs 2.5bln for security of EACOP, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has not allocated any funds.
“We have a committee which I put in place comprising relevant entities, including the Ministry of Energy but they are all headed by Defence Ministry and we do not funds for security of the oil pipeline,” he noted.
Committee Chairperson, Wilson Kajwenjye said that government ought to prioritise security of the pipeline.
“That is unfortunate; it is first and foremost Uganda’s pipeline before it becomes East Africa. How can you not provide for its security?” Asked Kajwenjye.
Simon Peter Opolot, the Kanyum County asked the minister to consider a partnership with the oil companies such as Total Energies to provide security for the pipeline.
“Is there any possibility of the partners also having interest in providing security,” Opolot asked.
The US$ 4 billion EACOP runs 1,443 kilometres from Kabaale, Hoima district in Uganda to the Chongoleani Peninsula near Tanga Port in Tanzania. 80 percent of the pipeline is in Tanzania. It is a buried thermally insulated 24-inch pipeline along with six pumping stations [two in Uganda and four in Tanzania] ending at Tanga with a terminal and jetty.
Uganda, which expects to drill its first oil in 2025, has approximately 6.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, with at least 1.4 billion estimated to be economically recoverable. French firm Total, S.A., Chinese firm China National Offshore Oil Corporation [CNOOC] have production licenses to develop Uganda’s oil reserves for export.
Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country-wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news