France's Total considers Tanzania pipeline route for Ugandan oil

Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:45am EDT
 
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By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA, Sept 15 (Reuters) - France's Total, an investor in Ugandan oilfields, said it is considering a pipeline through Tanzania as a possible way to export Ugandan oil, challenging Uganda's proposal of a Kenyan route which has raised some security concerns.

Kenya and Uganda last month announced a decision to link Uganda to Kenyan oil finds and then to Kenya's north Lamu coast, a move that had been seen as helping oil firms make their investment decisions.

Experts say that linking Kenyan and Ugandan fields could prove cheaper as all developers would share one pipeline. But the northern Kenyan route has also raised security concerns as it lies near Somalia, from where Islamist militants have launched attacks on Kenya.

One alternative idea has been for a pipeline further south in Kenya that would end in the port of Mombasa, while another route would run from Uganda to neighbouring Tanzania.

"We're exploring all technically and economically viable options and Tanzania is among those options," Total Uganda spokeswoman Ahlem Friga-Noy said.

She said the Tanzania route extended from Uganda's western town of Hoima to Tanga on Tanzania's coast. She did not give any further details about why the company was considering the route.

China's CNOOC is also investing in Uganda, while Britain's Tullow Oil has a stake there and is also developing Kenyan fields with partner Africa Oil. (Writing by Edmund Blair; editing by Jussi Rosendahl)