As the Vice-President of Total East Africa, Mr Javier Rielo, assured President John Magufuli that preparations for the construction of the 1,410-kilometre oil pipeline from Lake Albert in Uganda to Tanga Port in Tanzania are in good progress, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has shown interest in using the facility.
Mr Rielo made the assurance in Dar es Salaam yesterday when he met with President Magufuli to brief him on the progress of work on the construction of the pipeline. He said that his company is determined to ensure that the project is successfully implemented.
The construction of the pipeline, with the capacity of transporting 200,000 barrels per day, will provide 1,500 direct employment and 20,000 indirect employments. Speaking after receiving the report, President Magufuli said he believed the project will be of great benefit to Tanzania, Uganda, Total Company and neighbouring countries.
He assured Mr Rielo of his government's cooperation in implementing the project despite Tanzania's geographical position being one of the advantages for the project.
Meanwhile, the DR Congo government has shown interest in using the pipeline for transporting its crude oil. DRC Minister In-charge of Hydrocarbons, Mr Ngoi Mukena, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that his country has discovered a lot of oil and preferred to use the crude oil pipeline because the area where the oil has been found is close to it.
"I believe that if my country will succeed in using the pipeline, it will be beneficial to both countries in addition to being one way of strengthening our bilateral relations," he remarked.
According to Mr Mukena, his country will start transporting 30,000 barrels per day, the amount to increase up to 100,000 barrel per day. The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Professor Sospeter Muhongo, said that the pipeline will transport not only crude oil from Uganda, which the DRC government has shown interest in using it.
He said that the Congolese government had shown interest even before the construction of the pipeline has started to allow Tanzania to consider its request when the work begins. Prof Muhongo said that upon completion, the pipeline will have the capacity of transporting 200,000 barrels per day, with Tanzania benefitting through taxes and tariffs from the companies, which will be using the pipeline.
In another development, Prof Muhongo reported that they have agreed to conduct joint exploration of oil and gas along Lake Tanganyika and share the revenue upon the discovery of the natural resources.
He explained that Lake Tanganyika is shared by four countries, including Tanzania, DRC, Burundi and Zambia and hence experts from the countries will convene several meetings between this month and October to see how the agreement can be implemented. In April, the government said that construction of the 1,403-kilometre pipeline is expected to be completed by June 2020.
The companies with stake in the discovered oil in Uganda include Total E&P of France, Tullow Oil of United Kingdom as well as China National Offshore Oil Corporation.