As the region looks forward to the commencement of works on proposed joint Uganda, Tanzania East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), Kenya’s $1.5 billion Lokichar to Lamu Crude Oil Pipeline under the Lamu Port-South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset) project has been in the works since 2012.
According to Maina Kiondo, the director general of Lapsset, it is work in progress and currently, the environmental social impact assessment report on the project is undergoing public participation.
“Our plans for the pipeline are advanced and the project has undergone a major transformation from completion of initial preliminary studies to completion of Front End Engineering Designs,” said Mr Kiondo.
Furthermore, a geotechnical investigation from Turkana to Lamu right of way for the project is also complete.
Mr Kiondo anticipates that by June this year, the Pipeline Project Management Team will be done with the inspection, survey and a preliminary report, which will grant the team time for land compensation that would allow the construction of the crude oil pipeline to kick off.
“Currently, the Pipeline Project Management Team — whose members are drawn from Total, Africa Oil, Tullow Oil and the Kenyan government — is in the process of procuring an Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management contractor for the project’s implementation,” he added.
But, the government is yet to acquire land for the project.
The Lapsset corridor is 500 metres in width “so that it can accommodate the railway, pipeline, Internet fibre and parts of the road. So the biggest task is to acquire that land,” said Mr Kiondo.
He added that over 92 per cent of that land has been inspected, surveyed and preliminary evaluation carried out.
What is not in doubt in the Lapsset project is the port of Lamu, which is currently 87 per cent complete, and “plans are underway to operationalise the first berth, and container terminal probably in three months’ time,” said Mr Kiondo.
The port will be launched once most of the road networks connecting it to major hubs are complete, probably by October 2021.
Further, to exploit opportunities that the new infrastructure will bring, “a pilot programme for interlinking the Northern Corridor and the Lapsset Corridor was proposed during the Inter-Agency meeting held in March 2021,” said Mr Kiondo.
“For instance, Ethiopia-bound cargo will be transported from the port of Mombasa to the Nairobi Inland Container Deport via the SGR, onwards to Nanyuki via the rehabilitated metre gauge railway and then transported to Ethiopia via the Isiolo-Moyale highway,” he added.