TANZANIA has endorsed the environmental impact (EIA) or the execution of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) advancing longtime plans to fully develop the 3.6billion U S dollar oil project.
National Environment Management Council (NEMC) handed over the EIA certificate, the crucial document for the project to French oil giant— Total East Africa further opening doors for the construction of the much-awaited first east African largest oil pipeline.
Energy Minister Dr Medard Kalemani said the project had been delayed by several key issues, including the environmental impact assessment report and negotiations over the investment’s social and economic benefits to both countries and investors.
“With this document, now the project developers can move ahead with the implementation of such activities that would not be affected with the ongoing negotiation,” he said, adding: “Such activities include conducting feasibility studies on the construction of courting yard as well as preparation of tender documents.”
The EIA was conducted between 2017 and 2018 covering both environmental and social aspects but also had to go through a thorough review involving regional and district official, communities, population and rights groups.
According to the energy minister, 1147km of the 1443km-long, the pipeline will be constructed on the Tanzanian side embracing at least eight regions and 22 districts.
Dr Kalemani says the government had identified 9,000 people who will be affected and thus it had allocated over 56bn/- in compensation.
The minister, however, said Tanzania was done with the EIA and the oil marketing company will be waiting for the Ugandan authority to do the same. He went on to announce that a team of Tanzanian officials travelled to Kampala, Uganda last month to resume negotiations on the investment benefits to the nationals and the two countries.
Dr Kalemani directed the French oil giant Total, the current custodian of the EACOP project activity; establishment of onshore pipeline, marine storage terminal, offshore trestle jetty and load-out facility to also finalize its part and embark on the project without delay.
“The project shall immediately begin after the pending negotiations. We also urge our counterpart U ganda to facilitate such a process to ensure the project kick-off without delays,” he said.
Minister of State Vice President Office (Union and Environment) Mussa Zungu lauded the two-state leaders, President John Magufuli and his counterpart President Yoweri Museveni for their decision to embark on the construction of the largest crude oil pipeline.
He said the government considered all environmental risks and emphasized that his team was well organised to ensure the implementation of the project does not jeopardize the sustainability of the environment.