East African Oil Pipeline Project Sees New Development After "Tomb Demolition" - Energy

The East African Oil Pipeline (ECOP) has made new progress by awarding a contract to the French transport and logistics company, Bolloré, with an estimated budget of $133 million.

The assignment of the French company Total Energy, “the most prominent owner of the project,” the logistics contract to Bolloré, came after fierce competition between it and the German companies HL and Deogru, according to the newspaper “The East African”.

Under the move, the role of local companies in Uganda and Tanzania is limited to providing “support” only for the logistics services needed for the East African Oil Pipeline (ECOP), including transportation.

Logistics deal

French company Bolloré has been awarded a comprehensive logistics contract for the East African Oil Pipeline Project (ECOP), with a budget of $133 million.

East African oil pipeline
Couplings used to install the East African Oil Pipeline – Image via Global Trade Review

Under the deal, the company is responsible for coordinating the work between the project parties in terms of delivery, receiving, storing and transporting shipments of hundreds of thousands of cubic meters, heavy lifting operations and transporting shipments within containers.

Bolloré follows up the operations of loading, clearing and storing the materials used in the construction of the line, from the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the work sites along the East African Oil Pipeline between Kampala and Dodoma.

The logistics services of the East African Oil Pipeline (ICOP) cover 80,000 joints that connect sections of pipes together, each of which is 18 meters long.

The French company, Bolloré, is focused on transporting the project’s cargo between Uganda and Tanzania, over a distance of more than 30 million kilometers via heavy trucks, taking into account health, safety and environmental standards.

Under the contract, the French logistics company is required to provide 18-meter locomotives to transport the steel pipelines to several locations, along the 1,433 kilometer East African Oil Pipeline between Tanzania and Uganda.

The scope of the contract extends to the subsidiaries of the French company Bolloré in Europe, Uganda and Tanzania, in order to benefit from international mechanisms, charter vessels and global shipping mechanisms.

East African Oil Pipeline Developments

The East African Oil Pipeline Project (ECOP) was subject to the signing of the Final Investment Decision, in early February, between the oil companies representing the countries of Uganda and Tanzania on the one hand, and between the French Total Energy and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) on the other hand.

East African oil pipeline
Part of construction work on the East African Oil Pipeline – Photo by Construction Review

The project’s investments were estimated at nearly $10 billion, but it faced environmental objections that hindered the provision of $3 billion in loans to finance the project.

The pipeline project is part of a larger project called the African Lake Albert Project, which includes two axes (oil production from oil fields in Uganda and Tanzania, and then transported through the East African Oil Pipeline “ECOP” in preparation for export).

The French company Total Energy surprised the opponents of the project with a controversial move, after it worked – last January – to move the graves of the dead from the path of the line, but the company confirmed that the completion of this step would be with the approval and participation of the families of the deceased and the local community.

Environmental and social organizations escalated their opposition to the continuation of the project, and the Center for Living Rights in Kampala resorted to the courts to demand the suspension of the project.

At the local level, between Uganda and Tanzania, the two countries signed the host country agreement in April 2021, and other agreements regulating the work of the East African Oil Pipeline in preparation for the start of construction, including agreements related to shareholder investments and fees.

Following the signing of the agreement between the two countries, 38 civil organizations attacked the continuation of the project due to environmental concerns, and 3 French banks announced their withdrawal from financing the project.

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