NEMC clears pipeline environment impact

  • Feb 01, 2020
  • Guardian on Sunday

Speaking at a ceremony to present the certificate to Total East Africa Midstream BV (TEAM BV), the project contractor in Dodoma yesterday, the Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union Affairs and Environment) Mussa Azzan Zungu said the assessment has ensured that economic, social, environmental, health and safety issues were addressed in planning, construction and operation of the pipeline.

He said in order to minimize the impact on the environment and communities along the pipeline route, the assessment has focused on protection of important ecological areas and protected areas such as parks, forest reserves and densely populated areas.

The minister stated that pipeline stations will be installed and operated carefully to minimize environmental and ecological impacts during the construction and operation of the 1147 km major infrastructure.

Implementation of the project requires cooperation between the three parties, that is the Tanzania and Uganda governments and private sector project Investors, he said, noting that the Uganda version of the report was being awaited.

“It is my hope that the completion of this report on the part of Tanzania will be a catalyst for completing the report in Uganda so that the project is implemented in accordance with national and international laws and regulations,” he stated.

The role of NEMC is not just to issue a certificate but to continuously monitor and evaluate its implementation in accordance with provisions of the certificate issued, he said.

“My team is prepared and will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Energy which is the coordinator of the Tanzania oil and gas industry as well as investors when they start implementing this project from the construction to operation stage,” he said.

For his part, Minister for Energy Dr Medard Kalemani said that the first five steps have been completed in the implementation of the project, including access to the construction of four hundred lakh tankers, compensation for residents of the project area, geological and physical studies as well as compensation for renters in a corridor that will cover eight regions and 24 districts.

The EACOP project acquisition of this certificate is a milestone for the project development stages as it represents project compliance to safety standards as well as social, economic and environmental requirements set by the government.

The EIA studies were conducted by TEAM BV between 2017 and 2019 as per national laws and regulations. On 21st December 2018 the first report was submitted to NEMC and after a thorough review, recommendations by NEMC and submission of the final report, the project was then issued with the Certificate of Approval on 21st November 2019.

Construction and operation of the longest electrically heated crude oil pipeline will be carried out in Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Tabora, Singida, Dodoma, Manyara and Tanga regions.

The pipeline is a land mark project billed to unlock East Africa’s potential by attracting investors to explore opportunities in Tanzania and throughout the region. It is projected to result in over 60 per cent increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Uganda and Tanzania during the construction phase.

Project activities in Tanzania will include establishment of an onshore East African crude oil pipeline, marine storage terminal, plus an offshore trestle jetty and load-out facility.

The purpose of the EACOP project is to transport oil produced in Uganda from fields located on the shores of Lake Albert.

The implementation of the project in Uganda has been delayed since late 2018 when a dispute involving USD 900m in deferred taxes arose between the investor Tullow Oil and the Uganda government.

At the heart of the dispute was the law governing taxation of the sale of shares, reports indicated.

When visiting Tanzania mid last year, President Yoweri Museveni was tasked by his host President John Magufuli to speed up resolution of the matter and get the project on its feet. He promises to diligently work on it, saying Uganda ‘shall not be found wanting’ on the issue.