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Tanzanian officials tour EACOP route to fast track construction license

Field visit of officials from Uganda Insurers Association alongside their Tanzanian counterparts who assessed the progress of the project work at the respective oil and gas project sites. Photo via @PAU_Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Tanzanian Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) officials have inspected the contentious East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) routes in Uganda and promised to fast-track the process for approving its construction license.

The EACOP company at the beginning of last month wrote to the two governments seeking a construction license for the 1,445-kilometer pipeline from Hoima, Uganda to the port of Tanga in Tanzania.

Director General of Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), Modestus Martin Lumato who was part of the team in Uganda for the five-day visit to the Ugandan section of the EACOP and to the Albertine’s Tilenga and the Kingfisher projects, said the project has to be fast-tracked to achieve project alignment between the upstream and midstream developments.

“With what we have seen in the ongoing construction works upstream, we shall expedite the processing of the necessary approvals for the construction of the EACOP to kick off,” said Eng. Modestus.

The Director of Petroleum at EWURA, Eng. Gerald Maganga promised to expedite the process of approval of the construction license from the Tanzanian side.

“Our law (Tanzania) gives us 60 days, but our Customer Service Charter recommends 30 days from receipt of the complete application. We therefore plan to have the review process completed in the next 30 days before awarding of approvals,” said Eng. Gerald Maganga.

A statement issued by the Petroleum Authority on Tuesday said officials from the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) of Tanzania had a five-day supervisory field visit to the Uganda section of the EACOP.

They according to the statement specifically visited areas that will host key support infrastructures like the pump stations, construction main camp and pump yards, environmentally sensitive areas, and resettlement projects for the project affected persons.

The Petroleum Authority’s Executive Director Ernest Rubondo, said the joint supervisory visit provided an opportunity to review what the two regulatory entities have achieved and what they need to do to move forward with the project which is one of the crucial infrastructures for commercialization of Uganda’s oil and gas resources.

“The goal is to use all our efforts to ensure that our people benefit from this (EACOP) project and have a harmonized voice on aspects related to monitoring and regulation,” Rubondo said.

Unlike the Tanzanian law, the Ugandan law allows the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to grant approval for a construction license within 180 days from the date of application.

Dozith Abeinomugisha, the Director of Midstream at the PAU committed to harmonizing the review process of approving laws required for the construction of the project with different timelines in the respective laws. Anti-fossil fuel campaigners have been up against its construction (EACOP) claiming that it will threaten critical ecosystems including Murchison Falls National Park and the Lake Victoria Basin.

Amidst the concerns, authorities in Uganda and Tanzania have taken a cautionary approach to ensure that the development of the oil and gas resources of the Lake Albert region and the cross-border pipeline adhere to local and international best practice safeguards.

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