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China's CNOOC says it aims to take a stake in Ugandan oil pipeline
By Elias Biryabarema
KAMPALA, July 26 (Reuters) - Chinese oil firm China National
Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) aims to take a stake
in an oil pipeline being developed to export Ugandan crude, the
firm said on Friday.
Uganda discovered crude oil reserves about 13 years ago but
commercial production has been delayed partly because of a lack
of infrastructure, such as an export pipeline.
The 1,445 km (900 mile) East African Crude Oil Pipeline
(EACOP), costing $3.5 billion, will pass through neighbouring
Tanzania to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga.
"CNOOC shall participate in the EACOP project," Aminah
Bukenya, spokeswoman for the firm's Ugandan unit, told Reuters,
adding that the level of its equity stake would be determined by
the joint venture partners.
CNOOC jointly owns Uganda's oil fields with France's Total
and Britains's Tullow.
Total has previously said it was interested in financing the
pipeline. Tanzania and Uganda are both expected to take stakes.
About two thirds of the pipeline's cost will be financed by
debt and a Ugandan unit of South Africa's Standard Bank Group
and Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp are jointly
helping to raise the credit.
Ugandan officials have said the government is now aiming to
have commercial crude production start in 2022.
Government geologists estimates the country's reserves, in
the Albertine rift basin near the border with Democratic
Republic of Congo, at 6 billion barrels.
Bukenya said CNOOC also planned to produce gas and use some
of it to generate up to 42 megawatts of electricity for the
company's use and for sale to the national grid.
Energy Minister Irene Muloni said in December that Uganda's
oil fields had associated natural gas reserves estimated at 500
billion cubic feet.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema;
Editing by Omar Mohammed and Edmund Blair)
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