Inside the $10B World’s Longest Heated Oil Pipeline Bet

Inside the B World’s Longest Heated Oil Pipeline Bet
Near the start of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, or EACOP, in Western Uganda in March. PHOTO/COURTESY

Summary:

  • The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), an ambitious project spanning nearly 900 miles, faces challenges from adverse weather, logistical hurdles, and the need for substantial funding. The pipeline aims to transport waxy oil from Uganda to Tanzania’s port of Tanga.

HOIMA, (Examiner) – A dedicated team is working on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), which aims to become the world’s longest heated oil pipeline. However, they face numerous challenges, from forest fires to dangerous snakes, as they clear land across Africa to reach the Indian Ocean. Despite these hurdles, the most significant obstacle they encounter at Pump Station One, the project’s starting point, is the lack of funding. This ambitious megaproject involves French energy giant TotalEnergies, Chinese investors, and Persian Gulf financiers, but securing the necessary funds remains a concern.

The EACOP project is set to stretch nearly 900 miles, transporting up to 246,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga. Although this volume is about half of what the Keystone pipeline carries from Canada to the United States, the significance of EACOP is not to be underestimated. The pipeline will handle a particular type of waxy oil that solidifies at surface temperature, necessitating the implementation of heating systems to maintain its flow.

The dedicated team working on the EACOP project encounters a range of challenges, both natural and logistical. The region experiences heavy rainfall for approximately half of the year, resulting in significant disruptions to the construction process. Forest fires and the presence of venomous snakes further complicate the already demanding work conditions. However, despite these formidable obstacles, the team perseveres in their efforts to clear the land and ensure the pipeline’s successful construction.

While the EACOP project holds immense potential, its completion hinges on securing adequate funding. TotalEnergies, Chinese backers, and investors from the Persian Gulf have come together to support the venture, but the funding remains incomplete. The availability of sufficient financial resources is crucial for the project’s progress, and without it, delays and uncertainties loom over the ambitious undertaking.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline represents a monumental infrastructure project that aims to connect Uganda’s oil reserves to international markets. However, the team faces numerous challenges, from adverse weather conditions to financial uncertainties.

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