BY PAUL TENTENA
HOIMA, UGANDA- Working on the 1,445km East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), that requires over 2000 welders, electrical installers and masons, is still short of over 1700 qualified welders or that are 3G certified welders according to officials with in the sector.
Richard Alikirwa the Principal St. Simon Vocational Institute in Hoima, Western Uganda, who were contracted to train welders that will work on the EACOP project in order to meet international standards said they have about 30 students who are finalizing industrial training on addition to the 90 welders they graduated in 2016.
“So far there are about 220 trainees to international standards in the sector. Some are electricians, welders and masons trained in scaffolding, 3G welding etc,” said Alikirwa.
In January 2018, the results of the Front End Engineering Design (FEED), were made public, both in Uganda and Tanzania, by Gulf Interstate Engineering (GIE), a Houston-based company that carried out the design at a total cost of US$11.5 million.
The pipeline will total 1,445 kilometres (898 mi), of which 296 kilometres (184 mi) (21 percent) will be in Uganda and 1,149 kilometres (714 mi) (79 percent) will be in Tanzania.
The pipeline will measure 24 inches (61 cm) in diameter and will be insulated and heated. There will be above-ground facilities, including a marine storage terminal with export facilities near port Tanga. The total cost of construction is budgeted at US$3.55 billion.
Alikirwa said they still require state of the art training equipment. “We lack enough training equipment like grinder machines,” said Alikirwa.
The same outcry of lack of equipment was echoed by Bernard Ongodia, the Principal Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba where he said about 113 students have so far completed at the institute.
“We take in a maximum 40 students but we lack equipment or facilities for oil and gas specialization. More workshop specific space is needed for proper studying,” said Ongadia.
The oil pipeline will start in Buseruka sub-county, Hoima District, in Uganda’s Western Region. It will travel in a general south-easterly direction to pass through Masaka in Uganda, Bukoba in Tanzania, loop around the southern shores of Lake Victoria, continue through Shinyanga and Siginda, to end in Tanga.