Kenya & Uganda Reopen Talks Over Oil Pipeline

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Troubled talks over an oil pipeline project between Kenya and Uganda resumed as the countries’ presidents met in Nairobi on Monday.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta met with oil company executives to discuss the route of an oil pipeline between the two nations. Concerns have been raised over potential delays brought about by land compensation and security risks along the path Kenya is pushing for in the deal.

 

Kenya’s history of protracted land disputes

Two firms working with French oil company Total have reportedly warned that protracted land disputes could delay construction, should the Kenya deal materialise. Tullow Oil plc and China Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) carried out research last year, warning Uganda against plans to construct the Northern Pipeline from Hoima through Lokichar to the Lamu Port.

A source who attended the meeting in Nairobi on Monday said this was the major concern of Uganda, following the study’s findings:

“Uganda’s concern was that research by Tullow and CNOOC suggested that land compensation could be [a] major factor in delaying the construction of the northern pipeline,” the source said, according to Nation.

The study in question pointed to previous disputes surrounding the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) project and the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). It also warned that landowners hiking land prices could lead to higher costs than set out by the plans.

 

Kenya reassurs Uganda, oil executives

The Kenyan delegation present at Monday’s meeting moved to reassure Uganda and oil executives involved in the proposed project that Kenya can fulfil its commitments.

“We are making commitments knowing that we will keep them. For instance, the Lamu Port will be completed by 2018, which is within Uganda’s oil export projections,”  the delegation said.

Aside from the risk of construction delays, security concerns along the route in question have also been raised. Tanzania has been proposed as an alternative route for Uganda’s oil transportation, however, Kenya is keen to prove it can deliver on the deal. Presidents Museveni and Kenyatta have agreed to meet in Kampala next month for further discussions over a potential deal between the two countries.

 

Featured image: Public Domain.