Tanzania refinery project receives funding

US-BASED NOOR Oil & Industrial Technology Inc. is planning to construct a 200,000 bpd-refinery and an oil pipeline in Tanzania to supply refined fuel products to the domestic and regional markets.

The company has already got funding for the US$3.5bn project which includes plans to run a pipeline from the coastal port of Dar Es Salaam to Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria and Kigoma on Lake Tangayika, in northern Tanzania, according to Minoo Davar, president of NOIT as the company is known.

"Plans, design and feasibility studies are in progress. The refinery will be a state-of-the-art facility and will yield 98 per cent white products. The design of the project will allow room for expansion if the need may arise," the company said.

The refinery will process imported crude mainly from the Middle East.

The Tanzanian government will hold a 10 per cent stake in the refinery and a five per cent stake in the pipeline.

Negotiations to expand the pipeline into neighbouring countries, including Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, are in advanced stages.

A Ugandan government official at the ministry of Energy and Minerals Development confirmed that NOIT had approached the government to discuss the possibilities of extending the pipeline from Mwanza to Uganda's oil region, along the western border with Congo, however, no deal has been reached so far.

"The government is keen to open a southern route through Tanzania," he said.

Landlocked Uganda currently depends on the Kenyan port of Mombasa for the bulk of its imports and exports.

Plans are already underway to extend an oil pipeline from Eldoret, in western Kenya to Kampala. The contractor has already changed the design of the pipeline to equip it with a reverse flow to allow future transportation of refined fuel back to Mombasa for export once Uganda starts refining oil.

People familiar with the situation say that an oil pipeline from Mwanza would he shorter and more viable to connect the oil region in Uganda and Eastern Congo.

Uganda is expected to produce around 200,000 barrels of oil once commercial production commences.

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