October 15, 2015 / 11:01 AM / 5 years ago

Total says Kenya security important in Uganda pipeline decision

PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Total’s Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said on Thursday that his firm was considering exporting oil from Uganda via a pipeline through Tanzania because of security concerns about a route through Kenya.

The French firm has previously said it was considering a Tanzanian route, but had not clearly spelled out the reason. Experts had said security was likely to be a major factor.

Uganda said in August that a route through Kenya had been picked, but this month signed an agreement with Tanzania to explore a Tanzanian option.

“There are debates over security in Kenya which to me are very important,” Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of an industry summit in Paris, when asked about the route.

A final decision on the pipeline route is seen as crucial in helping Total, and other explorers in Ugandan oil fields estimated to hold about one billion barrels of oil equivalent, to decide on oilfield development plans.

The Kenyan route would run through a northern region near the border with Somalia, from where Islamist militants have launched attacks on Kenya.

“We are working with the governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda,” Pouyanne said.

“I have high hopes that we’ll find a solution because it is in the interest of the Ugandan government to develop this petrol and also the interest of the neighbouring countries,” he said. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Additional reporting by Edmund Blair in Nairobi; Editing by Leigh Thomas)

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