After months of deliberation government officials in Uganda and Kenya have agreed on a route for a 1500 km pipeline to transport oil from Uganda's Lake Albert basin to Lamu, Kenya on the Indian Ocean.
The proposed pipeline is part of a broader regional project, the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor, to bring Ugandan and Kenyan oil to global markets. Uganda possesses sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth-largest supply of crude oil, with an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of oil. Kenya is home to about one billion barrels. Another proposed project would connect oil from South Sudan and Ethiopia to the pipeline.
The pipeline will be laid through swamplands, national parks, and wildlife reserves, and parts of northern Kenya that are vulnerable to attacks by bandits or Islamist militants, according to consultancy BMI Research, which estimates the pipeline won’t be ready before 2020. A lack of skilled labor, poor electricity supply, and the difficulty of importing material and machinery into landlocked Uganda are other obstacles. Another big challenge is commencing the project in an environment of falling oil prices, impacting its viability.