Uganda approved an environmental-impact assessment for a planned oil pipeline, bringing closer the start of its construction. The National Environment Management Authority issued an approval certificate to Total East Africa Midstream B.V. for the project. The clearance is for the Ugandan section of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline, which is about 296 kilometers of the 1443-kilometer conduit, the agency said in a statement on its website. Total SA is leading the development of the $3.5 billion pipeline from Uganda’s oil fields in the west of the country to Tanzania’s Tanga port, along with partner Cnooc Ltd. of China and the two governments. Construction could start in the first half of 2021. Uganda has an estimated 6 billion barrels of oil resources and plans to start pumping crude in 2024.