Chadian President Idriss Deby and Cameroonian President Paul Biya On October 18th laid the foundation stone at the starting point of an oil pipeline linking the two countries in Kome, located in the south of Chad. The two presidents will lay the foundation stone on October 20th in Cameroon’s port of Kribi on the other end of the pipeline.
The 669-mile pipeline, which is planned for completion in 2005, is expected to carry 250,000 b/d of crude from the Doba basin to Kribi for export. The project is operated by Exxon Mobil Corp. with a 40 percent stake, Malaysian state oil company Petronas with a 35 percent share and Chevron Corp. with a 25 percent interest.
The World Bank is providing Exxon Mobil with $222 million in loans for the project. The pipeline is to be constructed by a consortium composed of French oil services firm Bouygues Offshore, Bouygues Travaux Publiques, U.S.-based contractor Kellogg Brown and Root and Anglo-French Alsthom Industrial Systems and Services.
Construction has been stalled by environmentalists and human rights groups who argue that the pipeline, which is to cut through one of the world’s last primary rainforests in Eastern Cameroon, will destroy large chunks of the forest, pollute rivers and swamps and support a government in Chad which has received criticism for human rights abuses.
Development of the Doba oil field, with some 300 wells, is to cost more than $3.1 billion. Production from the field is expected to top one billion barrels over its estimated 25 to 30-year lifetime. The project is expected to bring in between $2.5-$8.5 billion in revenues for Chad alone, with Cameroon reaping up to $900 million.