Kenya discovered commercial oil reserves in its Lokichar basin in 2012 and the 800-km (500-mile) pipeline is expected to be built before production is due to start in 2021/22.
Andrew Kamau, the principal secretary at the Petroleum and Mining Ministry, said the design work would take eight months.
The government had invited engineering design bids in January for the pipeline, which is expected to cost $2 billion.
Britain’s Tullow Oil operates the Kenyan fields, while the other investors are Canada’s Africa Oil and France’s Total. Kenyan is expected to take a stake through state-owned National Oil.
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