Tanzania's government has approved the construction of a $3.5 billion (€3.3 billion) crude oil pipeline.
The 1,443-kilometre (900-mile) pipeline will transport crude from vast oilfields being developed in Lake Albert in north-western Uganda to a Tanzanian port on the Indian Ocean for delivery to international markets.
Uganda's first oil is expected to flow in 2025 -- almost two decades after reserves were discovered in one of the world's most biodiverse regions.
The pipeline required approval from both countries, and last month Uganda issued a licence to the project operator, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
"This construction approval marks another step forward to EACOP as it allows commencement of the main construction activities in Tanzania, upon completion of the ongoing land access process," EACOP Tanzania general manager Wendy Brown said.
The oilfields and pipeline project is being jointly developed by France's TotalEnergies, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), along with the state oil companies of Uganda and Tanzania.
It has been hailed as an economic boon for both East African countries.
However, it has run into strong opposition from rights and environmental campaigners who say it threatens the region's fragile ecosystem and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.
POPULAR NEWS STORIES
Catalyst for Change: Sustainable and Efficient Flow Control for the Chemical Industry