Uganda, TotalEnergies allay fears of oil pipeline damage to environment

TotalEnergies Uganda General Manager, Mr Philippe Groueix, speaks at the oil and gas conference on Wednesday. (Image: Courtesy)

TotalEnergies Uganda has allayed fears that the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project and other oil projects will damage the environment and lashed out at activists whom he said are arguing from an uninformed point of view.

The General Manager TotalEnergies Uganda, Mr Philippe Groueix, says that contrary to claims by the opponents that the project will produce tonnes of carbon, the expected emission of EACOP is less than 13 kilogrammes.

He says despite the negative publicity, the investors will continue with their activities not only because the industry will spur Uganda’s growth, but because it is being developed with the utmost care for the environment and humanity.

He was speaking on Wednesday at the Oil and Gas National Content Conference organised under the theme, ‘Creating Lasting Value Through Enhanced National Participation to Accelerate Uganda’s Socioeconomic Transformation.’

Groups of civil society from Uganda and abroad have recently rallied the West to condemn the Ugandan oil and gas developments, especially the EACOP.

But Ms Pauline Macronald, the Environment and Biodiversity Manager at TotalEnergies Uganda, said the company has strong focus on Net Zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction for the Tilenga Project in Buliisa and Nwoya districts.

She said the company strives to manage the environmental effects of all its projects and operations according to the Mitigation Hierarchy principles of avoidance, minimisation, restoration and offsetting.

“TotalEnergies intends to recover on average ~70% of wastes by 2030 for Exploration and Production activities, with regards to care for the environment and waste management,” Ms Macronald said.

Mr John B. Habumugisha, the Deputy MD at EACOP Ltd said: “We continue to insist that anything we do around EACOP must be stringently compliant to the environmental and social requirements.”

“In terms of Environment, we have avoided most of the sensitive areas and the design levels are stringent. Our system ensures that we don’t have issues of spillage,” he added.

But Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, said many people are opposed to the projects without having adequate information and called on the oil and gas companies to allow access to members of the public to the installations.

She committed that the resource will be used to lift Ugandans out of poverty, citing the Petroleum Fund that she said was created to ensure that revenues are applied for infrastructure development.

TotalEnergies is leading a joint venture also comprising Chinese oil giant CNOOC and the Uganda National Oil Company in the Tilenga and Kingfisher projects in Buliisa and Nwoya and Kikuube districts as well as the EACOP in Hoima district respectively with oil production expected to start by June 2025.

This is in addition to other recently licensed companies to start exploration activities in other areas.

The Executive Director, Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), Mr Ernest Rubondo said there will be no more going back with all the investments that have already been made in the sector with $3b expected this year.

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