Image used for illustrative purpose only. The national flag of Uganda and flag of Tanzania (© Shutterstock/esfera)
1 minute read

Uganda Considers Oil Pipeline from Tanzania as Talks with Kenya Stall

Ugandan private fuel importers are backing a government proposal to build a pipeline with Tanzania, offering an alternative route for fuel imports amid a continuing deadlock with Kenya.

As reported by Monitor on Wednesday, March 6, the proposed pipeline would run from Tanga, Tanzania to Mpigi, Uganda, a district near the capital Kampala. This would bypass the current route through Kenya’s Mombasa-Kisumu pipeline, which has become a point of contention between the two East African nations.

“The distance is longer, but a pipeline directly from Tanga is potentially cheaper than Mombasa-Kisumu because trucks would no longer be needed for part of the journey,” said Anthony Ogalo, chairperson of the Sustainable Energies and Petroleum Association (SEPA), an umbrella body for Ugandan fuel importers.

Uganda relies on Kenya for 90% of its fuel imports, but a policy change by Kenya last year requiring Ugandan imports to be channeled through its national oil company, the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), created friction. Kenyan firms challenged UNOC’s eligibility for an import license in court, further stalling fuel imports.

While Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto recently pledged to resolve the issue, the Ugandan government is exploring the Tanzania option as a long-term solution.

Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa said the Tanga-Mpigi pipeline would not only provide security of supply but could also serve neighboring countries like South Sudan and Rwanda, potentially increasing its viability.

Technical teams from both Uganda and Tanzania are currently discussing the project, with Uganda seeking tax breaks and logistical support from Tanzania to make the pipeline more attractive.

The Ugandan government is also awaiting a court decision in Kenya on UNOC’s import license application. Nankabirwa stated that even if the Kenyan route is resolved, the Tanga pipeline could be used concurrently.

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