Hearings on Kingfisher oil project to start in June

By Pascal Kwesiga

The Kingfisher project is part of the wider oil development projects being undertaken in the Albertine Graben to facilitate oil production

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The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) will hold public hearings for the proposed Kingfisher development project next month.

The public hearings for the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) report regarding the proposed project will take place at Rwemisanga Primary School in Kyangwali sub-county in Kikuube district on June 19 and Kabaale Primary School in Buseruka in Hoima district on June 21.

The Kingfisher development project includes all facilities which will be set up in Buhuka parish in Kikuube on the south-eastern side of Lake Albert to facilitate oil production.

The project also includes a feeder pipeline which will move crude oil from Buhuka to the delivery point at the proposed Kabaale Industrial Park – which will house the refinery and the starting point for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

“A public hearing is a forum in which all stakeholders and developers are brought together to express opinions and offer suggestions on a proposed project to influence the decision-making process during the review of ESIA,” a statement from PAU reads.

The project components include the development of four wells pads; holding 31 wells (20 production wells and 11 water injection wells), a central processing facility (CPF), a 46km feeder pipeline running from Buhuka to Kabaale and flowlines transporting well fluids from production wells to the CPF. The associated supporting infrastructure includes camps, materials lay down yard, jetty, airstrip, and infield access roads and the water abstraction plant.

The Kingfisher project is part of the wider oil development projects being undertaken in the Albertine Graben to facilitate oil production. Uganda now expects first oil in 2022. An estimated 40,000 barrels of oil will be produced from Kingfisher fields daily.

The public hearings for the development of Tilenga oil fields in Buliisa district took place last year. Cnooc Uganda is the operator for Kingfisher while Total E&P is the operator for Tilenga fields expected to produce about 200,000 barrels of oil per day.

The joint venture partners – Cnooc, Total E&P and Tullow – are expected to reach a final investment decision (FID) this year. The decision will trigger investment in the development of the fields and production of oil.

NEMA received the ESIA report for Kingfisher from Cnooc in April and invited the public to scrutinize it and suggest further mitigation measures against possible environmental and social effects from the proposed project.

“Details of the nature of the project, its location, benefits to the local community, anticipated positive and negative environmental impacts; and proposed mitigation measures to respond to the negative impacts have been provided in the ESIA report,” the environmental watchdog said earlier.

The copies of the report are available at NEMA library in Kampala, PAU, Hoima and Kikuube district local governments, Uganda Wildlife Authority, national library, Makerere and Kyambogo university libraries, Hoima public library, Uganda National Oil Company, and ministries of water and energy