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  • EACOP ESIA: Vehicle collisions, fire, oil spills & sabotage top the list of risks

    The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the East African Crude Oil Export Pipeline (EACOP) project, lists accidents from vehicle collisions, fire, in-land oil spills and sabotage among the top risks the project faces. The ESIA report was submitted to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for review and subsequent approval (after stakeholders share their views and input). In July 2019, NEMA invited the public to submit their views on the report either in writing or during public hearings. The report was prepared by Total East Africa Midstream BV – an affiliate of French oil giant, Total SA.

    Other potential impacts from unplanned events include: earthquakes and landslides according to the report. According to the report, vehicle collisions will likely cause injury or mortality to members of the public, workforce, livestock and or physical damage to community assets, structures or even project assets. In order to mitigate the potential impacts, the report proposes the establishment of transport and road safety management plan.  According to the report, the anticipated vehicle collisions, could lead to spillage of transported fuels or chemicals causing contamination of soil and water with toxicity affecting living organisms. It proposes to put in place an emergency preparedness and response plan.

    The crude oil export pipeline is expected to traverse 9 districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera and Rakai. In these districts, the pipeline will traverse 22 sub-counties, 4 town councils, 41 parishes and an estimated total of 172 villages and hamlets. “The main source of livelihood in these areas is agriculture and most settlements are concentrated along national and secondary roads. Settlements often have a central trading place,” the report ESIA report notes. 

    “Religious structures are the most common cultural heritage with a physical local and strong intangible sensitivity, including four churches within 100 metres of the pipeline footprint, and three cemeteries, two of which are within the project footprint and a third within 100 metres,” the report reads in part. It is not clear in the report whether the churches and cemeteries will be relocated.

    In the report, it is proposed that during the construction phase, several measures will be put in place to mitigate and minimize the negative impacts of the project to the host communities. “During the construction phase of the oil pipeline, local community offices will be established at locations along the route to provide stakeholders direct access to community location coordinators, community liaison officers and grievance officers,” the report proposes in one of the mitigation measures.

    It further adds, “The Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) team will continue stakeholder engagement throughout the resettlement process. The grievance mechanism will continue to provide opportunities for stakeholders and potentially affected communities to express grievances about the project activities.”

    The report anticipates conflicts mainly related to land and property valuations. In order to mitigate and minimize such conflicts the report proposes that the EACOP project has and will continue to establish a non-judicial grievance handling mechanism to respond to the stakeholders’ concerns and facilitate resolution of stakeholders’ grievances.  The grievance mechanism will be compliant with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights effectiveness criteria for project–level grievance mechanism.

    EXPECTED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

    According to the report, the pipeline project will have minimal environmental impact. “Direct operational emissions in Uganda will range from 11 – 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year throughout the 25 year project life,” the report reads. This represents around 0.029 percent of Uganda’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2030.

    “The contribution of the EACOP to national emissions is therefore low and will not affect Uganda’s ability to meet its emission reduction targets under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Paris Agreement,” the report concludes.

    In terms of cumulative impacts of the pipeline project, the report highlights the expected economic boost due to employment, training and purchasing associated with not only the EACOP project but the Kingfisher and Tilenga projects too.

    The report calls for setting up of several management plans to mitigate and minimize the potential negative impacts of the projects. These include plans for the management of labour, project induced in-migration, community health and safety, soil, biodiversity, pollution prevention, cultural heritage, resettlement action plan, stakeholder engagement and waste management among other management plans. However, none of the plans and or plan structures are annexed to the ESIA report.

    by: Edward Ssekika,Edited by Muhumuza Didas

  • Oil roads construction: Hoima residents cry foul over damage caused by rock blasting

    At least 400 houses in 10 villages have been destroyed by rock blasting in Kigorobya County, Hoima district. PAPs want compensation for their destroyed property.

    “When government started constructing our road, I was excited. I know, it is going to open up our area. However, this rock blasting has affected us

    negatively. You see, my house has developed cracks due to waves from the blasting. It is like an earthquake. I live in fear that one day it can collapse on us,” 67 years old Alice Birungi told Oil in Uganda. “When the Chinese blast the rocks during the day, sometimes I have nightmares of the blasts at night. The waves are too much,”. She added.

    Alice is one of the over 400 households affected by excessive blasting of a rock in Kyakasato village, Kigorobya Sub-county, Hoima district by CICO Ltd, a Chinese company constructing the Hoima – Biiso – Wanseko road which is one of the critical oil roads.

    In a meeting organised by Global Rights Alert – a civil society organisation, residents complained of the excessive damage rock-blasting has caused to their properties mainly houses. CICO Ltd according to residents, started blasting the rock to get aggregates for constructing the road last year.

    John Mary Amanyire, the LC I Chairman of Kyakasato explains that there are many residents whose houses have been destroyed due to rock blasting and yet they have not been compensated. “The company (CICO Ltd) only compensated households within the 500 metre radius, anyone outside that radius has not been compensated. But people’s houses have been destroyed. They too should be compensated,” he said.

    According to residents, rock blasting has not only affected Kyakasato but 9 other villages including Bukona, Haibale I & II, Ndaragi, Kigorobya II, Kikonkona, Kikwanana, Kabatindure and Hanga.

    On April 23, David Karubanga the area Member of Parliament who is also the Minister of State for Public Service wrote to the Executive Director, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) seeking action for the 400 hundred structures which had been damaged by stone blasting. However, UNRA is yet to respond to the MP and residents’ demand.

    Lydia Tukwasibwe, a UNRA sociologist on the construction of Hoima – Biiso – Wanseko revealed that by compensating people within the 500 metre radius, the contractor was following guidelines issued by NEMA. “According to the policy [guidelines] only those within the 500 metre radius are eligible to be compensated,” She explained. She also added that the matter will be solved by their bosses.

    Kadir Kirungi, the district Chairman of Hoima attributes the problem to unrealistic guidelines by NEMA. “I cannot blame the contractor because the contractor is purely following the guidelines which were issued by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). I am only wondering how NEMA could issue guidelines without any form of assessment,” he said. Kirungi wants NEMA to review the 500 metres radius policy.

    Only 78 households within the 500 metre radius have been compensated. However, according to a preliminary assessment conducted by the area MP, at least 400 houses including 3 schools and 2 churches have developed cracks due to blasting and should be compensated. 

     “Communities outside the 500 metre radius have also been affected, their houses have cracks and we cannot leave this matter untouched. Developent in terms of the roads should come to make people better and not to supress them,” Kirungi said.

    The affected residents have further petitioned the district council for an intervention. In a letter dated July 22, 2019, Isingoma Nathan Kitwe, the Hoima district speaker wants clarification from CICO Limited. “I have received a petition in my office signed by 270 persons affected by excessive rock blasting by CICO in Kyakasato village, Kigorobya sub-county. This is therefore to invite you to my office for clarity before I present the petition to Council for discussion,” Isingoma Kitwe wrote. He added, “As you are aware that we need roads and we thank government for the all the endeavours to construct good roads for the people. However, human health and safety should be given first priority,” by: Edward Ssekika,Edited by Muhumuza Didas

  • Hope as Uganda embarks on EITI signup process

    Government has so far formed a Muti-Stakeholder Group (MSG) – acritical body towards the implementation of EITI.

    Uganda has embarked on a journey that could see the country become the newest implementing country for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).  For a country,

    where the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals is shrouded in secrecy and with accusations of corruption, joining EITI is an important milestone in entrenching transparency, accountability and good governance of the extractive industry.

    Cabinet decision in January, 2019 to EITI followed ten years of advocacy mainly by civil society and some government officials. Established in 2003, EITI is a global standard for good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources.

    Under the initiative, an implementing country is required to publish an annual EITI report – disclosing information on; contracts, licences, volumes of oil, how much is produced, how much is paid and received, how revenues from the sector is utilised.

    To become an EITI implementing country, Uganda has to complete the 5 sign up steps.  Step 1 is the establishment of a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) with clear objectives and an agreed work plan for EITI implementation.

    With the help of MSG, government will submit the EITI candidature application to the EITI board. Once the board admits Uganda as an EITI candidate, the implementing county publishes the 1st annual report in line with EITI standards within eighteen (18) months. After, the annual EITI reports, an implementing country undertakes a validation process that enables the country become EITI compliant member. Currently, there are 53 countries, implementing EITI out of which, 25 are African.

    MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GROUP

    In February this year, cabinet decision was followed by a public declaration by the Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija of country’s intention to join the EITI. As part of its commitment, Government has already constituted a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) to spearhead the implementation of the initiative.

    The MSG is currently comprised of 20 members drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), private sector and civil society. However, the membership is expected to rise to twenty-seven members.

    The MSG is Chaired by Moses Kaggwa, the director of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). Kaggwa’s deputy will be elected from among the members.  Other members of the MSG are;

    Elly Karuhanga (Chairman, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum – UCMP).

    Allan Kyeyune (Uganda National Oil Company – UNOC)

    Kush Amin (Private Public Partnership Unit, Ministry of Finance)

    Allen Bucyana (Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs – MoJCA)

    Obad Noah (Oranto Petroleum Limited)

    Gloria Akatuhurira (Uganda Revenue Authority)

    Tom Buringuziza (Armour Energy limited)

    Philip Andrew Wabulya (Bank of Uganda)

    Nathan Morgan (TOTAL E&P Uganda)

    Robert Tugume (Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development)

    Jean-Yves Petit (TOTAL E&P Uganda)

    Allen Tebugulwa (National Planning Authority)

    Godfrey Mucurezi (Uganda Revenue Authority)

    Timothy Tibesigwa (Ministry of Works and Transport)

    Winfred Ngabiirwe (Global Rights Alert)

    Margret Lomonyang (Karamoja Region Indigenous Women Association) Siragi Magara Luyima (Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group – CSBAG)

    Onesmas Mugyenyi (ACODE)

    Ntegyereize Gard Benda (World Voices Uganda).

    MSG has so far convened its inaugural meeting and will be meeting on a quarterly basis. “Standing observer slots will be allocated to the Office of Auditor General (OAG) and the EITI International Secretariat. All observers will be able to engage in discussions at the MSG but will not have a right to vote,” a member of MSG who preferred anonymity told Oil in Uganda. He added that additional seats will be provided for nominated experts to who shall invited to speak on specific issues.

    The MSG is currently reviewing its own Terms of Reference (ToRs) and defining their scope.

    IS IT A PANCEA?

    Once fully implemented, EITI is expected to improved transparency, accountability and good governance of the sector. “EITI increases public information, thereby empowering the public to put to task their government to account for every penny of the resource revenues, which many governments in Africa tend to fear,” argues, Gard Benda, the Country Executive Director, World Voices Uganda.  The initiative enhances public debates which improves governance of the extractive industry.

    For instance, Tanzania joined EITI in 2008. According to 2017 EITI progress report for Tanzania, reveals that debates on payments of income tax by mining companies operating in the Tanzania, resulted into Acacia company – one of the mining companies paying $ 14 million in unpaid income tax.

    But critics argue that EITI is not a panacea for transparent and accountable governance of the extractives industry since it lacks sanctions. Countries that are not compliant can on be delisted from the initiative but can join the initiative again. For stance, countries like; Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Sierra Leon, Yemen, Indonesia, Madagascar, Guentamala have been suspended and re-joined the initiative.

    With the Multi-Stakeholder Group in place, the next step will be for Uganda to formally apply to the EITI International Board for candidate status.

  • Kingfisher Public hearings concluded

    Government concluded two public hearings of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the Kingfisher development project. The hearings were conducted at Rwemisanga Primary school in Kikuube district and at Kabaale Primary school in Hoima district. The hearings which were organised by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda brought together project affected persons, diplomats, CNOOC Uganda, the operator for the Kingfisher oil field and other stakeholders who expressed their opinions and suggestions on the project inorder to influence NEMA’s decision making during the review of ESIA report. CNOOC Uganda Ltd intends to establish petroleum production facilities and support infrastructure in Buhuka parish where crude oil from wells drilled under Lake Albert will be processed and transported via a 46-kilometre feeder pipeline to a delivery point in Kabaale parish in Hoima district. While presenting the ESIA report, the CNOOC Uganda Vice President Mr Cu Yujun said the Kingfisher oil project will yield substantial social and economic benefits for Uganda through increased government revenues, employment opportunities, increased household incomes and expenditure. He said the project will increase the demand for goods and services within the project affected areas. He added that the project will cause human capital development through short and medium term employment opportunities for the people and cause a transfer of knowledge and skills from expatriates to Ugandans. The Kingfisher ESIA report indicates that during the construction, operation and decommissioning of the project, air quality, soils, surface and ground water may be affected. The project is expected to attract immigrants, affect the health, social services and livelihoods of affected persons. It is feared that the project could destroy archeological and cultural sites in the area. According to Mr Cu Yujun, all impacts have been identified and measures have been developed to ensure that negative impacts are mitigated and positive impacts enhanced for communities. CNOOC indicated that there are management plans for air quality, noise and vibration, biodiversity, traffic, waste, influx, cultural heritage and community health. Christopher Busobozi, a resident of Kyangwali subcounty asked CNOOC to increase of education and trainings for Ugandans to enable Ugandans attain the necessary skills to work in the oil industry. Omuhereza Tumwesigye from Kabwooya subcounty expressed worry that oil developments may displace some people and affect their livelihoods. He demanded a plan to improve on livelihoods of project affected persons. Simon Kyahurwa, a resident of Buseruka subcounty told a pre-public hearing dialogue that was organized by Action Aid Uganda that some oil producing states like Nigeria have had challenges where oil pipelines are attacked and cut by militants. He asked Government and oil companies for a plan of how oil pipelines will be protected from attacks and spills. Ms Betty Bagadira, a resident of Tonya parish in Buseruka subcounty expressed concerns over women and the elderly being displaced by the project and being marginalized. However, the CNOOC Uganda’s Senior Public relations supervisor Ms Aminah Bukenya said the project will address the concerns which people raised at the public hearings in line with CNOOC’s strategy of win-win for the company and people affected by the oil developments. The Buhaguzi County Member of parliament whose constituency hosts the Kingfisher oil field said locals are worried of increased cases of land grabbing in the area since commercially viable oil deposits were discovered in the constituency. He asked Government to undertake systematic land demarcation and titling to enhance land tenure security of his people. He asked CNOOC to support the planting of indigenous tree species, improve community livelihoods, promote conservation of forests and wetlands and asked Government to take leaders in oil rich areas to oil producing states so that they obtain knowledge and skills about how the petroleum industry operates. The PAU Director of Technical Support Services Ms Peninah Aheebwa who represented the PAU Executive Director said the hearings gave an opportunity to Government and CNOOC to hear public concerns so that negative impacts are mitigated and the benefits of the project are optimized. She said proposals raised by the public will be put into consideration by the relevant Government organs before the project is given a green light to proceed. She said adequate measures will be put in place to address the environmental and social threats of the project. The Public hearings were presided over by Prof Grace Bantebya, a Makerere University lecturer. She said the oil can bring joy and tears to a country. “This gigantic sector can change us either way” she said. She asked stakeholders to lay strategies of making the oil industry a blessing so that the sector helps Uganda in attaining some of the sustainable development goals. Kingfisher is one of the oil projects in Uganda which Government is developing in line with Uganda’s journey to kick start commercial oil production in 2022. Story by Francis Mugerwa Edited by Flavia Nalubega Edited by Didas Muhumuza

  • Government announces five new blocks for licensing

    Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Muloni has announced the second round of competitive bidding for five new blocks in the Albertine Graben in Uganda.

    Muloni made the announcement on Wednesday 9th May, 2019 during the 9th East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (EAPCE ‘19) at Pride Inn, Mombasa, Kenya.

    The five blocks are; Avivi (1,026 Sq. Km) in Arua district; Omuka (750 Sq. Km) in Nebbi district, Kasuruban (1,285 Sq. Km) in Buliisa/Pakwach districts, Turaco (637 Sq. Km) in Ntoroko district, and Ngaji (1,230 Sq. Km) in Kanungu/Rukungiri districts.

    According to a statement on the Ministry’s official Facebook page, the Minister said they were expecting many potential exploration companies for the blocks given that the current price of crude oil is high and very attractive for investment. She said the cost of finding oil in Uganda has been very low at less than a dollar per barrel as compared to the world average of two dollars per barrel.

    “I am very pleased to announce that my five new brides are ready. They are very attractive and easy to find. I invite investors to come and take them up,” Muloni said.

    Muloni boasted of a very conducive investment climate in Uganda singling out peace and security, infrastructure development, tax incentives and good human resource made of a youthful and educated population.

    The Ministry will consequently issue a Request for Qualification (RFQ) inviting interested firms and/or consortia to submit applications within a period of 6 months.

    “Upon evaluation of the applications, the successful firms/consortia will be issued with bidding documents comprising the model production sharing agreement and data sale regulations among others,” according to the Minister’s statement.

    The bidding process will take five months and result in the negotiations and signing of production sharing agreements between Government and the successful bidders. The licensing round is expected to be concluded with the award of Petroleum Exploration Licenses to successful firms by December 2020.

    Uganda launched its first oil block auction in 2015, covering six exploration areas measuring 2,674 square kilometres. Prior to that, the country handed out blocks on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • NEMA Grants ESIA Certificate for TILENGA Oil Development Project

    After months of review and consultations, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) granted Certificate of Approval for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process for the TILENGA Oil development project in Nwoya and Buliisa districts. This paves way for the oil companies to proceed with other vital steps towards making of the Final investment Decision (FID).

    The Certificate of Approval was issued on 15th April 2019 and was awarded to Total E&P Uganda (TEPU) and Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Ltd (TUOP) for the proposed development of six oil fields (with 34 oil production pads), an industrial area, buried pipelines and other supporting infrastructure for License Areas 1 and 2 operated by TEPU and TUOP respectively.

    The approvals followed public hearings in the oil host communities of Buliisa and Nwoya districts (and neighboring districts of Hoima, Masindi, and Pakwach) on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment report. However, some Civil Society Organizations previously urged NEMA not to approve the project citing several loopholes that required serious rectification and consideration before any form of approval.

    The overall objective of the TILENGA Project is to develop the discoveries in License Areas 1 and 2 to enable commercial production of the oil and gas resources in an economically prudent plus environmentally and socially responsible manner using sound reservoir management principles and best industry practices. This includes ensuring the safety of workers and the public, and limiting as far as practicable adverse environmental and social impacts of the projects’ activities, enhancing the beneficial impacts, and also seeking to achieve a net gain in biodiversity and ecosystem services as relevant as possible, in compliance with national laws and international standards.

    An Environment and Social Management Plan (ESMP) has been developed in order to support the development and implementation of the mitigation measures identified in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report. The environmental and social management plan details activities, impacts, proposed mitigation and monitoring mechanisms with associated roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders. Once developed, Uganda’s oil and gas sub-sector is expected to spur economic growth and development through growth of local businesses, provision of employment and generation of more revenues to finance the country’s development priorities.

    Before undertaking any project that is likely to impact the environment, the National Environment Act Cap 153 requires developers to undertake Environmental and Social Impact Assessments which are approved by NEMA before the project is cleared for implementation. NEMA’s Executive Director, Dr. Tom Okurut said the oil companies were cleared to undertake oil fields’ development in a manner that will also ensure that the environment is protected. He said, NEMA approved the developments after giving key guidance on the requirements which the developers have to adhere to.

    For instance, NEMA tasked developers to restore sites where they shall be operating. Oil developers normally clear vegetation during field operations, they accumulate debris and other solid and liquid wastes. The developers will thus be required to have restoration and oil spill management plans among others, to mitigate physical impacts and oil spills whenever they occur, and have to be managed well. Additionally, the developers shall be required to devise appropriate Social Impacts Management Plans to enable proper management of the social impacts that shall arise from the planned developments.

    Composition The TILENGA project so far includes Jobi-Rii, Gunya and Ngiri fields licensed to TEPU; and Kasemene-Wahrindi, Nsoga, Ngege, and Kigogole – Ngara Oil fields licensed to TUOP.

    According to the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report, the TILENGA project is composed of production well pads, a central processing facility and other associated facilities, production and injection network of pipelines and cables, Bugungu airstrip, Tangi Operations Camp, a water abstraction system, Victoria Nile crossing, River Nile Pipeline crossing and some critical roads among others. The project also includes temporary construction camps, construction support bases, a logistical check point in Masindi and borrow pits among others.

    Milestone “The issuance of the certificate of approval is one of the key milestones for the development of the (TILENGA) project. It shows the progress being made in the development of the oil sub-sector,” said Gloria Sebikari, a Manager of Corporate Affairs and Public Relations at Petroleum Authority of Uganda.

    The approval comes at a time when Government is undertaking various activities in the area that has been gazzeted for the project. A Land acquisition and resettlement process, negotiations with Project Affected Persons (PAPs), livelihood restoration interventions for PAPs are all on-going.

    The government through its licensed oil companies discovered commercially viable oil deposits north of Victoria Nile in Murchison Falls National Park and South of Victoria Nile in Buliisa district, among other exploration areas.

    Enter UNOC In a related development, Uganda National Oil Company Limited (UNOC) is in negotiations with the JV partners – Tullow, Total and CNOOC to comply with state participation requirements under the Production Sharing Agreements and the Petroleum Act, 2013.

    UNOC is mandated to hold and manage 15% State participating interest in the TILENGA Project. The Company is currently negotiating the back-in into the Joint Operating Agreements (JOAs) that is required to allow for the State Participation in the TILENGA Project. Signing of the JOA will enable UNOC to take an active part in project investment decision making through the JV Partners’ Operating Committee Meetings, including sanctioning of work programs, budgets, contracts and expenditures.

    Overall, the developments in the Oil and Gas sub-sector and particularly the TILENGA project clearly indicate beneficial progress in decision-making on vital aspects required to enable realization of key milestones towards attainment of first oil in Uganda.

    By Edward Ssekika, Robert Mwesigye & Oil in Uganda Correspondent in

  • Shs 125 billion withdrawn from the Petroleum Fund irregularly – Auditor General

    Auditor General notes the money was withdrawn from the petroleum fund without following procedures laid down in the Public Finance Management Act, 2015.

    In his latest report to Parliament, John Muwanga, Auditor General has faulted the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) of irregular withdrawal of Shs 125 billion from the Petroleum Fund.

    In the report to Parliament for the Financial year ended 30th, June 2018, the Auditor General notes that money was withdrawn from the Petroleum Fund and transferred to the consolidated fund in total disregard of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015. The 450-page report containing the disturbing news was released in December, 2018.

    Section 58 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015, requires that withdrawals from the Uganda Petroleum Fund to the Uganda Consolidated Fund to be made under authority granted by an Appropriation Act. Section 59(3) of the Public Finance Management Act, ring fences petroleum revenues to financing infrastructure and development projects only. However, from the report, it is not clear what kind of expenditures the money was used for.

    “I noted that management transferred Uganda Shillings125 billion on 2nd, November 2017, from the Uganda Petroleum Fund to the Consolidated Fund, without explicit mention of the Uganda Petroleum Fund in the Appropriation Act, as a source of funding,” the report reads in part. Instead, the withdrawal was premised on the medium term expenditure framework for the financial years, 2015/16-2021/22 submitted to parliament which includes the different sources of revenues financing the budget.

    “In the absence of guidance from the Appropriation Act, which would indicate the activities for which the funds have been budgeted, there is no assurance as to whether the funds were used to finance infrastructure and development projects of Government, as provided for under Public Finance Management Act, 2015,” the report reads in part.

    According to the report, in response, the Ministry of Finance explained in the management letter that the Appropriation Act, provides for only expenditures but does not reflect the various sources of funding for the budget, and that discussions are ongoing to review the presentation of the Appropriation Act to incorporate funding sources.

    In the report, the Auditor General advised the responsible Ministries to align the legal framework to sufficiently provide for a format of the Appropriation Act which shows the purpose, activities and amounts of the Petroleum Funds to be appropriated under the Consolidated Fund, or to be transferred to the investment reserve account.

    The Auditor General revelations continue to cast doubt on government’s willingness to transparently manage oil revenues. For instance, in 2017, a report of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) revealed that $633.7 million dollars (approximately Shs 2.2 trillion) oil revenues had been spent under unclear circumstances.

    The COSASE report didn’t give details how and where the money had been spent, but the Secretary to the Treasury in a letter, stated it was spent on the construction of Karuma hydro power plant. However, the Cabinet of Uganda approved the country’s ascent to the membership of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) thereby providing hopes for more transparency and accountability in the extractive sector, only if the initiative shall be properly applied to its true purpose. By Edward Ssekika Edited by Flavia Nalubega oil.Uganda@actionaid.org

  • Tilenga Project: Government to conduct public oil hearings

    Government has accepted to hold two public hearings over the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the Tilenga oil project.

    The public is hereby notified that the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has been requested by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to hold public hearings for the Environmental and Social impact Assessment report for the proposed Tilenga project, a statement released by PAU last evening reads in part.

    The name Tilenga is derived from two local names for the Uganda Kob (Antelope) which is called “Til” in Acholi and “Engabi” in Runyoro-Rutoro.

    NEMA received the ESIA from Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Uganda operations Pty Ltd for the proposed Tilenga project.

    Under the Tilenga project, the Government through its licensed oil companies has discovered commercially viable oil deposits north of Victoria Nile in Murchison falls national park and south of Victoria Nile in Buliisa district.

    The project includes jobi-Rii, Gunya, Ngiri, Kasemene, wahrindi, Nsoga, Kigogole oil fields. In 2016, Government granted petroleum production licenses to Total Exploration and Production Uganda B.V (TEPU) and Tullow Uganda operations Pty Ltd (TUOP) to develop and operate upstream petroleum facilities in the Albertine graben. Oil Licenses

    TEPU was granted production licenses for Ngiri, Jobi-Rii, Gunya fields while TUOP was granted production licenses in Mputa,Nzizi,Waraga, Kasemene, Wahrindi, Kigogole-Ngara,Nsoga and Ngege fields.

    The development of six fields namely Ngiri, Jobi-Rii, Gunya, Kigogole and Kasemene-Wahrindi within Buliisa and Nwoya districts will form part of the Tilenga project.

    The Tilenga project will be funded by TEPU, TUOP, CNOOC Uganda Ltd and Uganda National Oil Company.

    Composition According to the project documents which oil in Uganda has seen, the Tilenga project is composed of well pads, a central processing facility and other associated facilities, production and injection network of pipelines and cables, Bugungu airstrip, Tangi operation camp, a water abstraction system, victoria Nile crossing, river Nile pipe crossing and some roads.

    The project also includes temporary construction camps, construction support base, a logistical check point in Masindi and borrow pits. NEMA’s notice

    Oil in Uganda reported this week how the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is seeking public comments on ESIA for the Tilenga project.

    A public hearing will be a forum in which relevant stakeholders and developers will be brought together to express opinions and offer suggestions on the proposed project to influence the decision making process during the ESIA approval.

    The hearings will be held in accordance with regulation 22 of the National Environment impact Assessment regulations 1998, the statement added.

    A public notice released by the NEMA Executive director Dr Tom Okurut informed the public that the outcomes of the public review will contribute towards making a final decision of the project in accordance with the Environment impact assessment regulations.

    The notice asked members of the public to submit their comments by November 9th 2018.

    Concern of CSOs However, 13 CSOs demanded for public hearings over the project.

    “It is through public hearings that oil host and affected communities, the poor, marginalised and illiterate will be able to make comments on the ESIA to enable NEMA make a decision based on the collective input of all concerned stakeholders” the CSOs said in a joint letter to the NEMA executive Director Dr Tom Okurut.

    The CSOs said they are concerned that in the notice, NEMA did not indicate that it will call for public hearings before making any decision on the ESIA.

    The concerns of the CSOs are contained in a letter dated October 17, 2018 which was submitted to NEMA by the AFIEGO Chief Executive Director Dickens Kamugisha on behalf of the CSOs.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations of 1998 mandate NEMA to call for a public hearing where there is controversy or where a project has trans boundary impacts, the CSOs argued.

    “We need public hearings to ensure effective public consultations that can build consensus not only among Ugandan stakeholders but also stakeholders across the borders who are likely to be affected by the Tilenga project” said Kamugisha, a lawyer. Hearings

    Gloria Ssebikari, a senior communication officer at the the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), PAU will conduct two public hearings this month.

    “The public is further notified that there will be two public hearings held on 12th November 2018 at Buliisa district headquarters and on 15th November 2018 at Gotapwoyo primary school, Gptapwoyo subcounty, Nwoya district from 9am to 5 pm” the notice reads in part.

    The notice indicated that public comments should be addressed to the presiding officer at PAU.

    Local communities fear that oil developments in an ecologically fragile area in Murchison falls national park and around the Nile delta could potentially affect the environment. The national park is one of Uganda’s leading tourism destinations and it hosts thousands of wild endangered species of animals, birds, insects and reptiles.

    River Nile waters are shared by Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt and DRC.

    The CSOs have asked government to establish a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of actors from government, the private sector, religious and cultural groups, CSOs, the academia and others to act as an independent multidisciplinary oversight body to promote compliance with environmental conservation tools such as EIA, SEA, ESIA.

    The CSOs have further asked NEMA to delay any decision to issue a certificate of approval for the Tilenga ESIA until the new environmental laws and regulations are put in place by government and parliament. This will help the country to stop engaging in oil activities based on a weak and outdated environmental legal framework, the petition added.

    The CSOS that petitioned include the Africa institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), Guild Presidents Forum on Oil Governance (GPFOG), Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG), South Western Center for Policy and Advocacy (SOWIPA), World Voices Uganda (WVU), Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE), Greater, Green Organisation Africa (GOA)-Masindi, Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA)-Hoima, Kakindo Orphans Care-Buliisa, Girl Power foundation-Kasese, Friends of Nature-Kasese.

    Fears of Environmental damage

    The study released by the worldwide fund for nature (WWF) and the civil society Coalition on oil and gas (CSCO) titled “Safeguarding People & nature in the East African Crude Oil (EACOP) Pipeline,” expresses fears of a possible pollution of fresh water pollution in the Lake Victoria basin.

    According to a study, the East African crude oil pipeline will cross Kagera River, the largest river flowing into Lake Victoria.

    “The probability of leakage and spillage within the Lake Victoria watershed area is even greater given it is an active seismic area” the report stated.

    The report was released in July 2017 as a preliminary Threat Analysis (PTA) of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

    The Crude oil covering 1,445 km will transport crude oil from Hoima district in Western Uganda to Tanga port in Tanzania.

    The Pipeline project was commissioned by President Museveni And his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli in November 2017,.

    By Oil in Uganda correspondent, Bunyoro

  • NEMA reviews environmental concerns over Tilenga project

    The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is seeking public comments on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the Tilenga oil project.

    The name Tilenga is derived from two local names for the Uganda Kob (Antelope) which is called “Til” in Acholi and “Engabi” in Runyoro-Rotoro.

    A notice which has been pinned on public notice boards in Buliisa district indicates that NEMA received the ESIA from Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Uganda operations Pty Ltd for the proposed Tilenga project.

    Under the Tilenga project, the Government through its licensed oil companies has discovered commercially viable oil deposits north of Victoria Nile in Murchison falls national park and south of Victoria Nile in Buliisa district.

    The project includes jobi-Rii, Gunya, Ngiri, Kasemene, wahrindi, Nsoga, Kigogole oil fields. Composition According to the project documents which oil in Uganda has seen, the Tilenga project is composed of well pads, a central processing facility and other associated facilities, production and injection network of pipelines and cables, Bugungu airstrip, Tangi operation camp, a water abstraction system, victoria Nile crossing, river Nile pipe crossing and some roads.

    The project also includes temporary construction camps, construction support base, a logistical check point in Masindi and borrow pits.

    “The public is further notified that the outcomes of the public review will contribute towards making a final decision of the project in accordance with the Environment impact assessment regulations” a notice released by the NEMA Executive director Dr Tom Okurut reads in part.

    According to the notice, members of the public have been asked to submit their comments by November 9th 2018. CSO Petition 13 civil society organisations have asked NEMA to hold public hearings to enable locals have an input in the studies.

    “It is through public hearings that oil host and affected communities, the poor, marginalised and illiterate will be able to make comments on the ESIA to enable NEMA make a decision based on the collective input of all concerned stakeholders” the CSOs said in a joint letter to the NEMA executive Director.

    According to the CSOs which are working to prevent the impacts of oil on biodiversity from Buliisa, Hoima, Kasese, Greater Masaka, South Western Uganda and Kampala, they are concerned that in the notice, NEMA did not indicate that it will call for public hearings before making any decision on the ESIA.

    The concerns of the CSOs are contained in a letter dated October 17, 2018 which was submitted to NEMA by the AFIEGO Chief Executive Director on behalf of the CSOs.

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations of 1998 mandate NEMA to call for a public hearing where there is controversy or where a project has trans boundary impacts, the CSOs argued.

    “The Tilenga oil project is controversial and will have trans boundary impacts. The project’s activities will include drawing of water from Lake Albert, whose boundaries remain a challenge between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It should be noted that even the existence of many agreements including the Uganda Zaire 1990 Agreement, the 2007 Uganda-DRC Ngurdoto Agreement and others whose main objective was to address the peace and security challenges in the Uganda-DRC border areas through among other things providing for a framework for benefit sharing and conservation of shared resources such as the Lake Albert waters, fish and others have failed to achieve lasting results” Dickens Kamugisha, the Chief Executive officer of the Africa institute for Energy Governance(AFIEGO).

    The CSOs warned that if the Tilenga project is not well handled, it may worsen the conflicts and loss of lives as well as environmental destruction in Uganda and the DRC.

    “We need public hearings to ensure effective public consultations that can build consensus not only among Ugandan stakeholders but also stakeholders across the borders who are likely to be affected by the Tilenga project” said Kamugisha, a lawyer.

    The CSO stated that available evidence indicates that NEMA has the skills and interest to do a good job but it cannot effectively play its role amidst weak and outdated laws.

    It is unfortunate that for over four years, government and parliament have failed or ignored the need to complete the enactment and formulation of the new environmental laws such as the National Environment Bill of 2017, the draft EIA and Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) regulations of 2017, the Uganda Wildlife Bill and others. Without such relevant laws to among other things improve NEMA’s independence, funding, penalties for environmental offenders, the CSOS stated in their five-paged petition to NEMA.

    It is especially unfortunate that todate, as government and oil companies are finalising major oil decisions that will have long lasting environmental and social impacts, there is no specific provision in our current laws including the 1995 National Environment Act, the Uganda Wildlife Act and others that specifically provides for NEMA to reject oil activities even in the most critical biodiversity areas such as Lake Albert, River Nile, Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls National Park, and others of national and international importance, the petition which was received and stamped by NEMA on 18th October reads in part. Demands

    “NEMA should use its powers not to issue any certificate of approval for oil projects as a condition to force parliament and government to complete the new environmental laws and regulations” the petition stated.

    The CSOs have asked government to establish a multi-stakeholder committee comprised of actors from government, the private sector, religious and cultural groups, CSOs, the academia and others to act as an independent multidisciplinary oversight body to promote compliance with environmental conservation tools such as EIA, SEA, ESIA.

    The CSOs have further asked NEMA to delay any decision to issue a certificate of approval for the Tilenga ESIA until the new environmental laws and regulations are put in place by government and parliament. This will help the country to stop engaging in oil activities based on a weak and outdated environmental legal framework, the petition added.

    The CSOS that petitioned include the Africa institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), Guild Presidents Forum on Oil Governance (GPFOG), Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG), South Western Center for Policy and Advocacy (SOWIPA), World Voices Uganda (WVU), Community Transformation Foundation Network (COTFONE), Greater, Green Organisation Africa (GOA)-Masindi, Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA)-Hoima, Kakindo Orphans Care-Buliisa, Girl Power foundation-Kasese, Friends of Nature-Kasese.

    By Oil in Uganda correspondent, Bunyoro

  • Panyimur, Nwoya residents’ tales of oil discovery impacts