Oil firms should protect environment

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Total E&P Uganda has signed five packages for drilling of oil wells in Nwoya and Buliisa districts under the Tilenga project.

The approximately $2 billion deal will also provide for surface facilities, engineering, procurement, supply, construction and commissioning.

The Tilenga project is expected to attract over $10 billion in investments in Uganda. It includes six oil fields and will feature 426 oil wells at full production. It will generate up to 190,000 barrels per day, together with associated gas, produced water, injection water, and associated utilities and camps.

It will consist of 31 well pads connected to a central processing facility (CPF) via buried flow lines. The central processing facility will be located in Ngwedo sub-county, Buliisa district, outside the Murchison Falls national park. The CPF will also be connected to a water abstraction plant on the shores of Lake Albert.

Total’s Tilenga Oil project is located in the conservancy districts near the ecologically fragile Murchison Falls national park and the Nile Delta in the Lake Albert region in western and northern Uganda.

Both these Tilenga and EACOP projects are, however, located in or traverse a particularly sensitive natural environment, teeming with rare animals and plant life. One of the fields developed is located inside Murchison Falls national park while the others are located outside the park, south of the Victoria Nile.

Murchison Falls and the entire Murchison landscape is under massive pressure from oil threats, which might seriously lead to increasing destruction of wildlife habitats. The well pads, pipelines, roads, oil workers’ camps, noise, dust, crossing of River Nile and other oil infrastructure that will be developed under the Tilenga project will fundamentally affect Murchison Falls national park.

Therefore, I urge the government and oil companies to follow the national, regional and international best standards to ensure that our critical ecosystems such as Murchison Falls national park are protected from oil risks.

Spencer Pedun
Program Assistant at Environment Governance Institute (EGI)