Tanzania approves $3.5 billion oil pipeline project

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Tanzania’s government gave its approval on Tuesday for the construction of a $3.5 billion crude oil pipeline, part of a controversial mega-project that has raised concerns over human rights and the environment.

The 1,443-kilometre (900-mile) pipeline will transport crude from vast oilfields being developed in Lake Albert in northwestern Uganda to a Tanzanian port on the Indian Ocean.

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The pipeline required approval from both countries, and last month Uganda issued a license to the project operator, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

“This construction approval marks another step forward to EACOP as it allows commencement of the main construction activities in Tanzania, upon completion of the ongoing land access process,” EACOP Tanzania general manager Wendy Brown said at a function to receive the approval certificate.

The $10 billion oilfields and pipeline project has run into strong opposition from rights campaigners and environmental groups that say it threatens the region’s fragile ecosystem and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.

It is being jointly developed by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and France’s TotalEnergies, along with the state-owned Uganda National Oil Company.

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