A bevy of major construction companies are in a battle to land three prestigious pipelay contracts for the $4 billion East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a facility key to finally unlocking huge oilfields controlled by Total and CNOOC International in land-locked Uganda.

The pipeline is set to run 1445 kilometres between Kabaale in Uganda and the port town of Tanga on Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast.

The 24-inch diameter heated pipeline will transport 216,000 barrels per day of oil from the Tilenga and Kingfisher fields in Uganda — operated by French supermajor Total and China’s CNOOC International, respectively — to Tanga.