National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has finally issued a Certificate of Approval for the Environmental Impact Assessment for Tilenga Project in Buliisa and Nwoya districts.
The certificate (NEMA/EIA/12085 issued on the April 15, 2019 and signed by the NEMA Executive Director Tom Okurut means the Oil development partners can now go ahead and make the long awaited Final Investment Decision (FID) that will determine the commencement of the construction of the oil pipeline.
Tilenga Development Project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report was completed and submitted by AECOM Uganda Limited and Partner on behalf of the developers, Total E& P Uganda B.V and Tullow Uganda Operations PTY Ltd Production.
The report describes the main characteristics of the project, the identified impacts and proposed mitigation measures to minimize potential negative environmental and social impacts.
“The ESIA report for the Tilenga Project located in Buliisa and Nwoya Districts have been reviewed and found to have significant environmental impacts and the following appropriate Mitigation measures and made a condition precedent for approval and implementation,” the certificate seen by ChimpReports reads in part.
NEMA late last year requested Petroleum Authority of Uganda to organize a public hearing in Buliisa and Nwoya districts to give a chance to project affected persons (PAP) in the area to give their views and concerns about the report.
During the public hearing in Nwoya district, the Minister of state for Minerals, Peter Lokeris said the delay in the approval of the ESIA Report would delay the Final Investment Decision (FID).
“As you deliberate on the report and raise your concerns, be aware of the bigger picture. We all want oil production to start as soon as possible. However it will not start if we start fighting each other over trivial matters,” he said.
During the two hearings, local leaders and residents asked NEMA not to approve the report over illegalities in notice dates; lack of recognition for culture; inadequate legal framework for the resettlement of the affected persons and lack of commitment to influx management among others
The NEMA ED, Okurut had promised the PAPs that all the issues raised will be looked into before approval.
The Tilenga Project includes development and production of oil fields with in Murchison Falls Nations Park in Nwoya District and South of Victoria Nile in Buliisa.
Uganda has been undertaking Oil and Gas Exploration activities in the Albertine Graben in western Uganda since its first discovery in 2006.
The Final Investment Decision for the refinery is expected to be taken by the development partners by end of 2019 and actual exploration is expected to start by 2022/2023.