The EACOP is a 1,445km crude oil export pipeline that will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Kabaale – Hoima in Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga port in Tanzania.
The pipeline and related facilities are being designed and built to export the Lake Albert crude oil reserves to the Indian Ocean port.
The pipeline will create short term (2-3 years) employment for both highly skilled professionals, semi-skilled and casual laborers. It is expected that causal workers who will be invloved in the construction phase of the proposed project will be sourced locally from each district and this will further promote the development of local capacity.
About 10,000 people will be employed during the construction phase of the project.
The EACOP has benefits for both Uganda and Tanzania which include job creation, local content, new insfrastructure, logistics, technoloy transfer and enhancement of the central corridor between Uganda and Tanzania.
The most important direct benefit that will arise from the crude oil pipeline is the revenue that will be generated for both governments and the taxes and revenues that will be received from the upstream oil companies as a result of export through the pipeline.
It is estimated that the EACOP project will create about 10,000 jobs during the construction phase. These are direct hire estimates and do not include indirect or induced jobs which will be as a result of the project.
The EACOP project will ensure that health, safety, security, social, economic and environment are addressed throughout the planning, construction and operation phases of pipeline operations.
The pipeline route has been selected to avoid the most environmentally sensitive areas like national parks and the high population density areas.Facilities will be carefully located and operarted to reduce any potential physical and ecological impacts.
The nature of the crude oil in Uganda is waxy. Therefore, to transport this oil, the EACOP export pipeline will need to be heated and insulated to keep the oil in a liquid state. It will be the longest heated pipeline in the world.
The pipeline will be buried to minimise the impact on the environment, with some facilities above the ground and will be designed to ensure minimal environmental and social impact.
Along the underground pipeline, at the surface there will be pump stations, storage and heating facilities as well as automated control facilities to manage the product movement and maintain safety. Should a pipeline fail, a drop in pressure will trigger systems that close valves to isolate the failed section of the pipeline.
The selected route begins in Kabaale – Hoima, in Uganda and extends south to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga port in Tanzania. The pipeline route was selected by the Government of Uganda as the least cost and most robust.
Along the underground pipeline route, at the surface there will be pump stations, storage and heating facilities as well as automated control facilities to manage the product movement while maintaining safety.
Similar to the pipeline route, the location of these above ground installations (AGIs) will also be selected with care and attention. The selection of these locations involve consideration and balancing of a number of factors, including pipeline hydraulics, safety and environmental risk, site conditions, site access, existing power infrastructure and proximity to populations.
The total cost of building the EACOP will be born by the companies investing in the pipeline – and then repaid over time by a tariff paid by each barrel of oil transported through the pipeline. However the pipeline will be operated as a utility, providing a service to the upstream, rather than looking to maximise profits. In addition to the investment by upstream operators, the export pipeline project will look to secure external project financing through international institutions such export credit agencies and multi lateral bodies such as the African Development Bank.
The pipeline will be owned by the upstream oil companies, the Government of Uganda (or its National Oil Company) and the Government of Tanzania (or its National Oil Company) who collectively seek to ship and export the crude oil.. In addition, other entities that may have oil to ship in the future may also choose to invest in the pipeline. A standalone Pipeline Company will be established, and it will enter into a number of contracts and agreements: with the host governments over whose territory the pipeline will pass, with contractors to build the pipeline and all of the necessary facilities as well as with the upstream shippers who want to ship oil through the pipeline. The Pipeline Company will be the owner of the pipeline facilities, however it will not own the oil that is being shipped through its facilities. The Pipeline Company will operate the pipeline and will have responsibilty for the long term safe and uninterrupted operations of the pipeline.
The construction phase will begin after route selection, easement negotiations, environmental permitting and many other pre-construction actions have been accomplished.
The first step of construction will be to set-up access roads and camps for the project. Then the pipeline right-of-way must be cleared and prepared for construction.
Once ready, the pipeline is carefully placed in the pre-dug trench or, in a few cases it will require to be bored under waterways or roads. Each stage of this process is overseen by qualified inspectors to ensure compliance with the engineering plan, codes, permit conditions, landowner and easement agreements, and regulatory requirements. The objective is to minimise impacts on the communities through which the pipeline is being built. Once the pipeline is buried, the topsoil and vegetation will be restored, with the exception of trees. During operations, certain restrictions will apply to the use of land in the right of way so as to preserve the integrity of the pipeline. The only elements of the pipeline which will be visible will be the pump and heating stations, and the marine terminal and these facilities will require permanent rights to the land.
Prevention is key; hence active steps will be taken to identify risks and ensuring that health, safety, security, and environmental concerns are anticipated and addressed from early stages of the project throughout its whole life cycle (including planning, construction, operational and decommissioning phases).
Nevertheless, the pipeline operators will prepare for the unlikely event of an incident through control room technologies and training to stop the flow of a pipeline quickly upon detection of a release. Operators also develop emergency plans to be ready to respond shall an emergency arise, in order to control and minimize the impacts of any release.
The efficiency of the response relies on preparedness, communication, training an efficient deployment of resources, and an optimum collaboration with local first responders and emergency personnel, (local fire and police departments).
Investing in prevention and preparedness and adhering to these processes is key for the Company not to be accountable and pay a stiff price in terms of actual costs, reputation, and the loss of actual and/or social license shall an incident happen.
When a pipeline is properly designed and constructed then the likelihood of failure when it is brought into service will be remote. With adequate standards of inspection, monitoring and maintenance, the pipeline integrity will be enhanced and risks will be kept to a very low level.
Regular inspections will assess the adequacy of the design and the application of quality and safety standards during the construction phase of the project. Further inspections will follow during the pipeline’s operational life.
The EACOP companies have taken active steps to ensure that health, safety, security, and environmental concerns are anticipated and addressed from the early stages of the project and throughout its whole life cycle including planning, construction, operational and decommissioning phase.
Corrosion prevention is implemented from design with the choice of materials, and during operations thanks to regular inspections. Before the pipeline is tested all welds will have been inspected for defects by ultrasonic or radiographic techniques. During operations, the Pipeline Company will carry out an online inspection using an inspection tool. The first inspection will take place early in the life of the pipeline and at scheduled intervals afterwards.
Once the pipeline is buried and commissioned, regular stakeholder sensitization and close surveillance of the right of way will be carried out in order to prevent the third party damage to the pipeline by careless digging and other construction activity.
If the pipeline is damaged accidentally or sabotaged, leaks can be quickly detected because of the sudden drop in pressure recorded. When a leak is confined to a specific section, the oil flow is stopped as soon as possible at the pumping stations and automated block valves in order to isolate the section and contain any spill. There will also be detailed emergency response plans, whereby resources are immediately deployed in order to control and reduce the impacts of any release.
Capital Injection in the Economy
The 3.5 Billion USD investment capital associated with the construction and operation of the pipeline will be directly injected into the economy of the two countries, increasing their FDI by over 60 % during the construction phase.
The pipeline will also provide business opportunities for the different players involved in the pipeline design, construction, and operation and decommissioning of the project, and a trickle down economic effect will occur spurring the development of local content.
The pipeline will create short term (2-3 years) employment for both highly skilled professionals and unskilled laborers for over 10,000 people. The project will also seek to capitalize and further develop local capacity to develop other pipeline projects in the region.
Developing the Oil & Gas Value Chain
The development and maintenance of the pipeline infrastructure in the two countries will also contribute to building capacity and know-how of national service providers. Targeted national content programs will aim to enhance the transfer of knowledge, training and capacity building to enable these companies to be pre-qualified and potentially bid for complex and high caliber projects.
Increasing Infrastructure Development
Along the pipeline, service roads will have to be upgraded or developed to facilitate the access to and maintenance of the pipeline during its construction, operations and decommissioning phases. These service roads will increase accessibility of the areas traversed by the pipeline enhancing the movement of goods and people and overall economic exchanges and generate access to remote and potentially environmentally sensitive areas.
The safety of the pipeline safety the responsibility that must be shared by all stakeholders. Community and pipeline safety is improved through active stakeholder participation, especially with regard to public awareness, damage prevention, risk-informed land use planning, and emergency management efforts.
Awareness is the key to preventing pipeline incidents. During construction there will be many movements of heavy machinery and pipe joints as well as increased vehicle traffic and therefore related increased risks of accidents. Havy machinery used during the construction of the pipeline will generally be fenced in,but on occasions – when they are waiting to be strung together before being lowered in the trench, these operations will not be fenced in.Its very important that the members of the community do not come into contact or tamper with the pipeline equipment and machenery.
The Pipeline Company will facilitate the process on behalf of the governments of Uganda and Tanzania – and the process will be done in accordance with local law and international standards.
Once the oil from Lake Albert has been depleted (in about 3 decades from now), it is possible that other discoveries of commercially viable oil fields may be made in Uganda or in the surrounding countries and could be exported trough the pipeline in the future.