More than 6,000 people have today thronged Rwemisanga Primary School, Rwemisanga Parish in Kikuube District to participate in the first Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Public Hearing for the Kingfisher Development Project (KFD) that is being spearheaded by CNOOC Uganda Ltd.
The Public hearing, the third of its kind to be organized by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) in partnership with National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is intended to give a platform to the public and those living within the Project affected areas to give their opinions, suggestions and proposals to ensure that the KFD project is executed in a way that puts into consideration the Environment and the biodiversity of the area.
The other objective of the public hearing is to give opportunity to project affected persons to verify the accuracy of the ESIA findings in relation to the situation on the ground, to confirm that all affected parties have been consulted and were part of the decision making process.
This is hoped to promote effective public participation and ensure confidence in the project as well as provide a forum for the developer to elaborate and clarify to persons in attendance on issues in the ESIA that may emerge.
Speaking at the public hearing, Peninah Aheebwa, the Director Technical Support Services at PAU, who represented the Executive Director said the public hearing and the ESIA report are organized in accordance with the National Environment Act Regulations law that requires that each project that may have effect on the Environment is done in a manner that uplifts environmental preservation.
“Our role is to ensure that International Oil Companies (IOCs) are following the National Oil and Gas Policy and that all oil projects are implemented in a manner that does not degrade the Environment and cultural heritage of the people of Uganda but improves their wellbeing. I therefore call upon all of you to express your opinions openly and objectively” she said
Mr. Robert Kasande, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development who represented the Minister said the Public Hearing for the Kingfisher Development Project ESIA Report was necessary as it would inform the next important steps towards first oil.
“This Public Hearing brings us closer to what everyone is waiting for; the Final Investment Decision (FID) that will usher in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction phase which the country stands to reap immensely, said Kasanda.”
The KFD ESIA was conducted by Golder Associates and Eco and Partner consult on behalf of CNOOC Uganda Limited that was awarded a production license by the Government of Uganda in 2012.
The main purpose of the ESIA is to provide the relevant authorities and stakeholders with enough information on the KFDP so that an informed decision for approval on the environmental and social aspects of the project can be made.
The Vice President of CNOOC Uganda Ltd Mr. Cui Yujun presented the ESIA Report on behalf of the company that is the lead developer of the Kingfisher Development Project.
Cui Yujun, Vice President CNOOC thanked the stakeholders present for the continued support in progressing the KFD project.
He reiterated that the public hearing is a good platform that enables interested parties to express their opinions freely in the concluded ESIA report of the kingfisher development project.
The principal objective of the KFDP is to establish petroleum production facilities and support infrastructure in Buhuka Parish (Kikuube District) where crude oil from the wells drilled under lake Albert will be processed and transported via a feeder pipeline to the delivery point at Kabaale, Hoima District.
The report covers the potential impacts of construction, operation and decommissioning of the project may have on the physical, biological and social economic environment and the archaeology and cultural heritage.
Speaking at the same event, the Executive Director of NEMA, Mr. Okurut Tom said the resolutions from the public hearing will affect the final decision on whether NEMA will award the Environmental Assessment certificate to the Kingfisher development project which is crucial for oil production
“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” he said
The Bunyoro Kingdom Prime Minister asked CNOOC to respect the norms, cultures and wellbeing of the natives as they implement the project and do it in a way that uplifts the dignity and cultural heritage of the people in the area
“Our cultural heritage like the tombs, historical sites, tourism spots, birds, animals must be protected. These have defined us the people of Bunyoro for hundreds of years. As much as we want this oil, we also want to preserve our Environment and culture” he said
The public hearing was presided over by Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo from the School of Gender Studies at Makerere University
Members of Parliament on the Natural Resources Committee led by Hon. Keefa Kiwanuka are also present at this historical event.
Another public hearing will be held on 21st June 2019 at Kabaale Parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district to give the same opportunity for the locals and project affected persons to discuss the report.