The Kenyan government thought they had the ‘perfect’ business partner in Uganda, they were wrong.
President Uhuru Kenyan after a series of meetings with his counterpart President Museveni was left devastated after it was revealed Uganda will take its oil to the market through Tanzania’s Tanga port, leaving Kenya to build its own pipeline to Lamu, if the positions taken at the just-ended talks in Kampala are maintained.
Uganda’s neighbors to the East further claim that President Museveni’s government is struggling to raise the funds. An assertion Total has warned Uganda that the northern route, which is 1,120km, will encounter rough land terrain because of the Rift Valley in Kenya, driving the cost of the pipeline higher and delaying it is also said to have further made Museveni commit to the Tanga deal.
Kenyan officials couldn’t wait for the final position to be announced during the Northern Corridor Heads of State Summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo later this week where the pipeline deal will be a key agenda item.
“We have lost the pipeline deal to Tanzania. Uganda is playing hardball and has refused to share the report from its discussions with Tanzania.” a senior Kenyan official told a regional publication.
Tanzania is flat, given the Lake Victoria Basin Total has also promised to finance Uganda’s contribution of 40 per cent to the construction of the refinery in Hoima, which stands at $3.8 billion.
Total is eyeing production of an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of Uganda’s crude oil by 2018 from oilfields in Hoima, western Uganda.
The French oil company is UK Tullow Oil’s partner in the Ugandan oil fields and the main financier of the operations. China National Offshore Oil Companies is also a partner.
The pipeline if passed through Kenyan would likely have to travel through swamplands, national parks, and wildlife reserves, and parts of northern Kenya that are vulnerable to attacks by bandits or Islamist militants, according to consultancy BMI Research, which estimates the pipeline won’t be ready before 2020.
There are also unconfirmed reports that Uganda is not certain about Kenyans ability to contain a repeat of post-election violence from eight years ago especially if CORD leader, Raila Odinga, is beaten by incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017 thus chances are the pipeline would be destroyed like the railway line in Kibera was.
From December 2007 to February 2008, Kenya experienced ethnic violence triggered by a disputed presidential election held on 27 December 2007. The violence claimed the lives of more than 1,300 Kenyans and displaced more than half a million others.