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Uganda-Tanzania pipeline construction hits headwind

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Construction of a planned Uganda-Tanzania pipeline project is being delayed thanks to a legal challenge that has been mounted by four non-governmental organisations seeking to stop work on the project.

The Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights Ltd and the Africa Institute for Energy Governance both based in Kampala; the Nairobi-based Natural Justice-Kenya and the Center for Strategic Litigation Ltd based in Zanzibar wants the court to temporarily stop the project construction until the case is heard and determined.

M/S Semuyaba, Iga & Company Advocates together with Dalumba Advocates,the NGOs among other things want climate change impact assessment undertaken; Human rights impact assessment done; and meaningful, effective and transparent public consultations ensuring robust community and broad public participation.

In their petition, the  NGOs also say that environmental and social impact assessment has not been carried out as required by both the EAC Treaty and other international laws.

“It contravenes the EAC Treaty and protocols that determine the undertaking of such a project,” they say.

The new development comes even as Uganda’s Minister for Energy & Mineral Development, Hon. Mary Goretti Kitutu, formally announced that the Final Investment Decision for the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project will be made during the first quarter of 2021.

She made the announcement during her keynote address at the sixth edition of East Africa Oil & Gas Summit 2020 which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that the year 2020 has been an enormous challenge following the global pandemic that has made a negative impact on the oil and gas industry.

“Since activities are beginning to take shape, I am optimistic that by the first quarter of 2021, the FID will be made. We are working hard to achieve it. The East African Crudeoil Pipeline represents an investment of more $3.5 billion US dollars with many commercial opportunities for both domestic and regional players. This is by far the biggest bilateral trade agreement between Uganda and Tanzania.” she said.

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