Kenya and Ethiopia are still in talks over the construction of an oil pipeline to Lamu, an implementing agency has said.
Yesterday, the Lamu Port Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transit (Lapsset) Corridor Development Authority said the two nations will sign a bilateral agreement on the project in three months.
This comes amid reports that Ethiopia had opted for the Djibouti route.
“We are almost finalising the talks and in three or four months, we expect to sign a bilateral pact with Ethiopia on the construction of the oil products pipeline to Lamu,” said LCDA Director General Silvester Kasuku.
He said yesterday the Ethiopia-Djibouti and Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline deals will not affect the implementation of Lapsset oil pipeline plans.
Mr Kasuku said the development of the first three berths and other port components in Lamu will be fast-tracked after the National Treasury allocated them Sh10 billion.
On May 2, 2014, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopian leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of the crude oil pipeline along the Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu under the Lapsset programme.
Lapsset envisages the construction of a port, power plant, railway, pipeline and other facilities from the Lamu port through South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Government estimates the venture will cost $26 billion (Sh2.6 trillion) although it has been hit by delays chiefly due to difficulties in sourcing funds, insecurity and land compensation debacles.
The venture has, however, been put in limbo after Ethiopia announced a deal to construct its pipeline through Djibouti. Uganda has also opted to use the Tanzanian route, sparkling fears that the Lapsset project had hit a dead end.
Kasuku said the Djibouti-Ethiopia pipeline will not affect the Lapsset plans and that bilateral talks were “going on very well.”
Last month, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum issued an international tender inviting firms to carry out engineering designs for the proposed Lokichar-Lamu crude oil export pipeline.
In an interview, Kasuku however termed talks that Lapsset project had stalled as “mere politics” and that Government was still keen on the implementation of the project.
He said preliminary designs for the railway line had been finalised and the construction of some sections of the roads in the northern frontier that make the Lapsset component had been finalised.
Kasuku said the construction of the Marsabit-Turbi stretch, along the highway to Moyale town, which borders Ethiopia, was already complete.