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EACOP coating plant commissioned in Tanzania

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

In another milestone for Uganda and Tanzania’s project to build the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Coating plant was officially commissioned today at Sojo, Nzega – Tabora Region in Tanzania.

Dr Ruth Nankabirwa, Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development and her Tanzanian counterpart Dr Doto Biteko, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, commissioned the state-of-the-art facility, which is where all the pipe sections manufactured in China and shipped to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam will undergo thermal insulation and coating.

Coating is an essential part of the EACOP project as the carbon-steel pipe will be sheathed in carefully-designed thermal insulation carrying a web of electrical filaments and fibre-optic cables along its entire 1443 km length so that crude oil from wells in Uganda can reach the Tanzanian coast safely for export.

The heat will allow the Ugandan crude oil to flow efficiently while the fibre will connect leak sensors to a real-time satellite tracking surveillance network that will minimise the risk of any environmental damage.

After coating at the new plant, the pipe sections, each 18 m in length, will be transported to the different Main Camps and Pipe Yards (MCYP) along the pipeline corridor ready for final assembly in the EACOP trenchline before buried.

Dr Nankabirwa commended the EACOP Company for delivering this latest element of the EACOP Project since the announcement of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for Uganda’s upstream oil projects including EACOP which was made in February 2022.

“Today's commissioning of this plant is a true testament that the project is on course and at a point of no return,” Mrs Nankabirwa said. As showcased at the coating plant commissioning ceremony, all project pipes will be installed with aluminium raceways, an insulation layer, Polyurethane foam (PUF), an anti-diffusion barrier and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) before distribution to the different manufacturing sites along the 1443 km line.

“All this is aimed at safeguarding the environment and surroundings as well as prolonging the life span of the pipeline,” Nankabirwa added. She added: “Works on the upstream projects in Uganda namely Tilenga and Kingfisher Development Areas are also progressing very well with four rigs in the country drilling development wells and construction of the industrial area to host the Central Processing Facilities and their auxiliary parts”.

Alongside the coating plant commissioning event, the EACOP Company and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) signed three Land use and Ports Agreements. These included the Lease Agreement for land for construction of the Main Storage Terminal, the Marine Facility Agreement, and the Marine Use Agreement.

Dr Biteko, revealed that compensation of the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) had progressed well thus far, with works for the construction of the four tank Main Storage Terminals at Chongoleani, Tanga on the Tanzanian coast currently underway. The pipe will connect Tanga to Hoima in western Uganda which will also house a refinery so that some of Uganda’s crude oil is processed for domestic consumption while the balance is exported using the pipe and sold on the international market.

“You the people of Tabora region are lucky because the pipeline coating yard is at the centre of the EACOP, 700 km apart from Hoima and from Tanga. You should therefore celebrate this milestone and ensure that you harness the opportunities this plant is bringing here,” Dr Biteko emphasised.

Mr Martin Tiffen, the Managing Director EACOP Company revealed that the Thermal Insulation and Coating Plant not only signifies technological advancement but also creates numerous employment opportunities within the region.

During the construction phase, a total of 500 personnel on site were employed. During the production phase, 270 workers will be involved in front line site activities, including running the thermal insulation production lines, pipe handling, logistics, maintenance, and inspection. The coating yard has to date received three batches of pipelines totalling to 300km.

“We have two batches that are arriving at Dar es Salaam and by this time next year, all the 1443 km pipelines will be here with us and all works insulation works are progressing as scheduled,” Tiffen revealed.

Mr Dozith Abeinomugisha, the Director Midstream at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), said the Authority is undertaking joint monitoring and regulation with its counterpart, Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), Tanzania to ensure that aspects relating to all the licences given to the EACOP company are adhered to.

“The EACOP Company has received its construction licenses from both Governments of Uganda and Tanzania and civil works are ongoing in both countries, we have to jointly monitor closely to ensure all the guidelines and regulations are followed,” Mr Abeinomugisha said.

The EACOP Company has the following shareholders: TotalEnergies BV (62%), CNOOC Uganda Limited (8%), TPDC (15%), and the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) (15%).

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