Uganda and Tanzania leaders have signed an agreement for the construction of the world’s longest heated oil pipeline, linking the former’s oil fields in the west to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga. As per reports, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli have signed the “host and implementation agreement” in the town of Chato.
According to Ugandan authorities, the construction of the pipeline will begin in the year 2021 and will cost around $3.5 billion. The authorities have expressed optimism as Uganda aims to finance ambitious infrastructure projects in a bid to launch the nation into middle-income status with the oil money. However, no further details regarding the pipeline have been disclosed.
Earlier last week, French oil giant Total which is a major investor in Uganda’s oil industry announced that it had made a deal with the Ugandan authorities, getting approval for the crude oil export pipeline which will cross sensitive protected areas, rivers, and farmland.
In a statement, Total's Uganda office said, “The conditions are set for the ramp-up of project activities and in particular, we will resume the land acquisition activities in Uganda while respecting the highest human rights standards”.
According to the reports, a total of 12,000 families can be displaced due to the construction of this massive pipeline. Also, it can cause a serious threat to vital ecosystems. The French rights group, FIDH is supporting various human rights defenders who are not in the favour of this project.
Meanwhile, Total has also been criticised for digging oil wells in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, which is also a great tourist spot. FIDH’s Sacha Feierabend has said that Total and its development partner in Uganda — the China National Offshore Oil Corporation — must “take urgent measures to avoid what could be a disaster waiting to happen”.