Public hearings over planned oil projects in western Uganda beginThe Kingfisher project developers are CNOOC Uganda Limited (operator), Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Limited.
June 20—Close to 6,000 people turned up on Wednesday at Rwemisanga Primary School, Rwemisanga Parish, Kikuube District in western Uganda, to participate in the first Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Public Hearing for the Kingfisher Development (KFDA) Project operated by China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) Uganda Limited.
“Your views will determine whether CNOOC is awarded the certificate or not. Our role is to ensure that this oil is produced in a manner that uplifts the Environment and does not become hazardous to our lives but instead makes it better,” Tom Okurut, the environment authority boss told the gathering.
He said the resolutions from the public hearing will affect the final decision on the award of the Environmental Impact Assessment certificate which is necessary before oil production commences. Another hearing is scheduled for Friday June 21, 2019 in Kaabale Parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima.
The ESIA was conducted by Golder Associates from UK and Eco and Partner Consult from Uganda on behalf of CNOOC Uganda who were awarded a production license by the government in 2012.
An ESIA provides a description of the project facilities and the potential positive and negative impacts and mitigation measures during the construction, operation and decommissioning phases.
Major components of the project located in Kikuube and Hoima Districts include the development of four well pads: holding 31 wells (20 production wells and 11 water injection wells). A Central Processing Facility (CPF) is also to be built along with flow-lines to transport well fluids from production wells to the CPF.
Other new construction planned is a 46-kilometre Feeder Pipeline to transport crude from the CPF to the delivery point in Kabaale, Hoima District and additional support infrastructure including a camps, a jetty, and airport. The project developers are CNOOC Uganda (operator), Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Limited.
Cui Yujun, the Vice President of CNOOC Uganda outlined the gist of the ESIA report on behalf of their company. Professor Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo from the School of Gender Studies at Makerere University presided.
This hearing was the third of it’s kind to be organised by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) in partnership with National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). It was intended to allow the public to express their views in an open atmosphere.
Peninah Aheebwa, the Director Technical Support Services at PAU said, “Our role is to ensure that international oil companies (IOCs) adhere to the country’s legal and regulatory framework and international best practice. This includes ensuring that all the oil and gas projects are implemented in a manner that does not degrade the environment and cultural heritage of the people of Uganda, but improves their well-being. I therefore call upon all of you to express your opinions openly and objectively.”
“Our cultural heritage like the tombs, historical sites, tourism spots, birds, animals must be protected. These have defined as the people of Bunyoro for hundreds of years. As much as we want this oil, we also want to preserve our Environment and culture,” Andrew Byakutaga, the Prime Minister of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom said.
Robert Kasande, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said the public hearing was an important step towards First Oil.
“This public hearing brings us closer to what everyone is waiting for. One of the precursors to the Final Investment Decision (FID) being taken, is proper documentation of both the positive and negative Environment and Social impacts of the projects, and the mitigation measures. FID will usher in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction phase where many benefits for the country will be realized,” Kasande said.
However, several people asked that the project developers ensure fair and adequate compensation for their land and the host communities benefit from the available jobs and other opportunities to provide goods and services.