The East African Crude Oil Pipeline is a buried pipeline system that will transport crude oil produced from the Tilenga and Kingfisher developments in Uganda’s Lake Albert area to world markets. The pipeline starts in Kabaale – Hoima in Uganda and ends on the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga on the Indian ocean coast in Tanzania. This major export system includes 1,443 km (296 km in Uganda and 1147km in Tanzania) of insulated and buried 24” inch electrically heated pipeline, six pumping stations, two pressure reduction stations and a marine export terminal in Tanzania.
EACOP is also the name of the incorporated company established to build, finance and operate the pipeline. EACOPs shareholders are affiliates of the Upstream Joint Venturers (TotalEnergies, CNOOC of China and UNOC the Uganda National Oil Company) together with the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).
Whilst EACOP will have custody of the oil during transportation, the ownership of the oil will remain with the Government of Uganda and the Upstream Joint Venture Partners who will also be responsible for oil sales onwards from the EACOP redelivery point at the end of the Jetty in Tanga.
Following extensive studies of the different route options, in 2016 the Government of Uganda selected the Kabaale (Hoima) – Tanga Route based on it being the least overall cost and most technically robust route to deliver Uganda’s oil to international markets.
The viscous and waxy nature of Uganda’s crude oil requires maintaining the crude at a minimum temperature of 50°C for it to flow. To maintain this operating temperature, the pipeline will be insulated and electrically heated along the entire route. In Uganda this electricity will primarily be sourced from the hydropower stations of the Ugandan National Grid. In Tanzania power will also be sourced from the grid, together with EACOPs own power generation from a mixture of Solar power, generators and battery storage.
No, the oil to be transported in the EACOP is in its Crude form, with high Waxy Appearance Temperature (WAT) making it as a solid at room temperature, unsuitable for cooking or other uses. Uganda’s crude oil commercialization strategy is to promote a refinery of 60000 bbls/day that meets the petroleum products needs of Uganda and its regional neighbors, with the remaining oil to be exported through Tanga Port in Tanzania. A significant portion of the oil revenues, in the form of royalties and profit sharing, will be returned to the Government of Uganda. In August 2020 the Government of Uganda joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
Once constructed, no, the pipeline will not be visible as it will be buried and topsoil and surface vegetation re-instated. Thus, it will be much less visually impactful than other linear projects such as roads, railways, or power lines. Whilst there will be limitations on farming and construction within the Right of Way, it will not be fenced, and people and animals will be able to freely pass over it anywhere along its entire length. The only parts of the pipeline infrastructure which will be visible will be the pumping stations, the electrical heat tracing stations, the block valve stations and the marine storage and offloading facilities.
After several years of surveys, technical studies, tendering and finalizing the legal & commercial framework, the Final Investment Decision for both the two Upstream Projects (Tilenga and Kingfisher) and EACOP was taken in February 2022.
For EACOP, the focus in 2022 will be on land acquisition in both Uganda and Tanzania, appointment of the major Suppliers and Contractors, Detailed Engineering & Procurement and some early technical surveys and civil works. The real construction on the ground will commence in 2023 ready for first oil in 2025.
Once oil starts to flow, EACOP will enter the operational phase expected to last about 20 years.
The estimated cost of construction is some $4 Billion. It will be financed from equity provided by the shareholders and loans. Once in operation the pipeline will receive a tariff for each barrel of oil transported to repay the loans and make a return on the investment.
EACOP requires a 30 m wide ‘Right-of-Way’ along the entire pipeline length in order to construct the pipeline, together with land for the ‘Above Ground Facilities’ such as the pumping stations and the Marine Terminal. EACOP will be leasing land under long term leases from the Authorities in Uganda and Tanzania. However, it is EACOP itself, in co-operation with the Authorities that is responsible for the land acquisition process.
Prior to 2021 the focus was on surveying and establishing valuations. During this first phase land-users were both able to and encouraged to continue to use their land. The second implementation phase of land acquisition concerns the payment of compensation and establishment of in-kind support programmes. As per best practice, the compensation is calculated with both a disturbance allowance and an uplift to reflect the time elapsed since the original surveys.
Some 13161 Project Affected Persons (PAPs – broadly speaking households but the definition also includes institutions and other entities) along the pipeline route will receive compensation in cash and in kind directly from EACOP, in line with both National Legislation and the IFC Performance Standards. The vast majority of these PAPs (96%) have some portion of their land impacted and will receive compensation for the full replacement cost of their land, structures, crops and trees. Some 4% of the PAPs also require their primary dwelling to be relocated, and they are offered replacement houses of a higher standard than their existing dwelling. In addition to cash compensation, the majority of PAPs will also be entitled to in-kind compensation including transitional food support, financial literacy training and access to livelihood restoration programs.
In both countries EACOP has established a field based team of Community Relations Coordinators and Community Liaison Officers together with an accessible grievance mechanism. This allows to maintain a constant dialogue between EACOP and the PAPs together with the surrounding communities. PAPs will leave their affected land only after they have been paid their compensation and received their notice to vacate. This compensation process was started in 2021 and full land access is planned to be achieved in 2023. A grievance mechanism is in place and being used.
EACOP has benefits for both Uganda and Tanzania which include job creation, local content, revenues for the host countries, infrastructure, logistics, technology transfer and enhancement of the corridor between Uganda and Tanzania. Local /National content is a key focus area both for the project and the host governments, including for the EACOP project participants and is integrated into the contracting strategy. In each country local/national content plans are in place to guide the implementation process.
The pipeline route does not go under Lake Victoria or cross any IUCN categorised sites. The pipeline does not cross any chimpanzee habitat, nor any areas with significant populations of large game. Some 8% of the pipeline length traverses designated areas (covering a total area of 3.5 km2); the majority of these crossings are along the boundaries of such areas that have already been largely modified by farming and other human activity.
The Project has carried out surveys to identify critical and natural habitats. Where a species is identified, measures will be put in place to minimise impacts during construction such as temporarily narrowing the right of way or scheduling construction to occur at times when a species is not utilizing the habitat.
In areas of Critical Habitat, the project has a clear commitment to use offsets to achieve a net-gain.
The design and construction of the pipeline will be carried out in accordance with international standards including pressure testing with water prior to introducing oil and installation of block valves to be able to close and isolate sections of the pipe. Once in operation the pipe will be continuously monitored using a fibre-optic cable along the entire pipeline detecting temperature changes and vibration. Consequently, any intrusion, attempt to expose the pipe or leak would be detected very quickly and with a high degree of accuracy, allowing to isolate the section and respond. There is no credible scenario of massive pollution of Lake Victoria.
Pipelines are safe and leakages are rare. However, as a responsible company, an oil spill contingency plan is part of the EACOP operating philosophy. It covers oil leakages on the pipeline, the above ground installations, and the export facilities. Thus, in the unlikely event of an emergency, we will be prepared and equipped to respond effectively. The monitoring and control systems will minimise the inventory of any release and allow to shut down the flow quickly. Regular drills with local emergency personnel, such as fire, police, and port authorities, will also ensure that response to an incident is well-coordinated and efficient. The viscous and waxy nature of the oil means that if there is a leak, the oil rapidly solidifies rather than dispersing into the environment. In case of contamination, actions will be carried out to remediate the land to its condition before the incident.
EACOP Project Community Liaison Officers or CLO’s are a local point of contact for all stakeholders and especially affected communities and people. Community members can approach CLO’s to raise their questions about the Project and receive information and updates as the Project progresses. General information about construction progress, grievances and EACOP led programs, will be available from the CLO’s offices in the regions where the pipeline will pass.