Construction of the multi-billion dollar East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) between Uganda and Tanzania could begin in mid-2021, according to a senior executive closely involved in the planning process, with partners including French giant Total closing in on sanction of the much-delayed project.

The 1443-kilometre heated pipeline will send 216,000 barrels per day of waxy crude from fields controlled by Total and China’s CNOOC International in Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga, with first oil targeted for 2024 or 2025.