Construction of East Africa’s first trans-border gas pipeline set to begin

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President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, left, and Tanzania's President John Magufuli, Right.

The Tanzanian government is planning to build a pipeline to pump natural gas to their neighboring Uganda. This will be another step in the two countries’ bid to expand energy cooperation.

In 2016, Tanzania and Uganda agreed to develop a crude oil export pipeline to help with the transportation of the land-locked Uganda’s crude reserves from fields in the country’s west to offshore markets.

The State-run, Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), said that the project is expected to start from its capital Dar es Salaam, and passing through Indian Ocean port of Tanga to Mwanza port on Lake Victoria before crossing the border to Uganda.

“We are looking forward to hiring a contractor to conduct a feasibility study to determine current and future natural gas demand; the study would also establish the most economically viable route for the pipeline. This will be made easier by identifying all potential customers” it said, though it did not give an estimated volume.

Tanzania boasts estimated recoverable natural gas reserves of more than 57-trillion cubic feet (tcf), mostly in offshore fields in the south of the country.

“I am confident the pipeline construction will be successful given the expertise and experience gained through the construction and servicing of two pipelines — the 532km Mtwara-Dar es Salaam one and the crude oil pipeline that is underway,” TPDC managing director Kapuulya Musomba said.

The project will be the first trans-border gas pipeline in the East Africa region since 2004 when the extraction of natural gas commenced at the Songosongo Island in Lindi.

Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli   and his Uganda counterpart, Yoweri Museveni launched the project in Tanga, led by French oil multinational Total as the main contractor.

About 10 to 15 regions in Tanzania will benefit from the pipeline that will also serve as a catalyst for oil and gas exploration in the region.