Zimbabwe’s National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) and UK-based Coven Energy have signed a joint venture agreement to build a $1.3bn fuel pipeline.

The project is planned to be built in phases over a period of four years. The first phase of the project is expected to receive capital injection of $850m, according to Business Times.

Zimbabwe Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa was cited by Reuters as saying that the proposed pipeline project will run from the Mozambican port city of Beira to the Harare.

Mutsvangwa was quoted by The Herald as saying: “The project will result in the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and Coven Energy Ltd entering into a 50:50 public-private partnership.

“The project will create employment opportunities and generate foreign currency for the country. It will also help reduce vehicular congestion and the smuggling of petroleum products.”

The pipeline project is expected to complement the existing pipeline that links Harare and Beira.

It is also anticipated to make the country a transportation hub for refined petroleum products and serve the SADC region including Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.

Mutsvangwa said: “The partnership will be for a period of 30 years.”

As part of the long-term plan, the new pipeline project would serve Zambia, Malawi, and the DRC, reported Business Times.

NOIC will initially sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Coven to undertake a feasibility study, and subsequently inform the study outcome to the government.