Uganda has granted environmental approval for a $3.5 billion pipeline to export crude oil from western fields to the Indian Ocean coast in Tanzania.
Uganda’s state-run National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) approved the Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.
The environment watchdog issued the certificate to Total East Africa Midstream B.V as an approval to pave way for the construction of the EACOP.
EACOP is a 1,443 kilometre crude oil export pipeline system that will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Kabale – Hoima in Uganda to a maritime port facility on the Chongoleani Peninsula near Tanga in Tanzania.
The certificate of approval is specific to the Ugandan section of the project and follows the November 2019 approval for the Tanzanian Section.
ESIA is undertaken to identify and assess the potential environmental, social and health effects of the project with the aim of identifying the adequate measures to avoid and mitigate potential impacts as well as enhance the project’s health.
Executive director, NEMA Dr Tom Okurut, said the project will be monitored to ensure compliance with the certificate’s conditions of approval.
“Monitoring is a continuous process and will be undertaken during construction, operation and decommissioning phases. This, we shall do to ensure that the health, safety and security of the communities, workers and the environment are all respected,” Dr Okurut said.
The EACOP project general manager, Mr Martine Tiffen, noted that the approval is a significant milestone for the project as it is the result of several years of collaborative work with many specialists and stakeholders.
“EACOP project will yield substantial foreign direct investment in Uganda and Tanzania during the construction phase,” he stated
The Director for Petroleum Refining, Conversion, Transmission and Storage at the Petroleum Authority Uganda, Mr Dozith Abeinomugisha, said the EACOP project will make a very significant contribution towards unlocking the oil and gas sector in Uganda and possibly beyond.
“EACOP will provide a wide range of social, economic benefits to the country and the region including serving as a regional infrastructure to deliver crude oil and other oil fields in the region to the market,” Abeinomugisha said.
Acting Commissioner for the Midstream Petroleum Project in the Energy ministry, Ms Irene Pauline Batebe also said ESIA is part of the wider environmental management and conservation plan and that the outcomes of NEMA in the approval are addressed to ensure environmental mitigations are achieved as planned.