By Busiinge George
The government has acquired a 47-acre piece of land in Kasambya village, Katikara sub-county, Kakumiro district where one of the four labour camps will be established during the construction of a 1,443-kilometer East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP)
The government has officially concluded the acquisition of the land which will accommodate a main camp and a pipe yard with each labour camp estimated to host 1, 000 workers, including construction crew- welders, drivers, foremen and ICT specialists among others
On 24th of January this year, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, handed over an operation license to the Managing Director of the EACOP Company Limited, Martin Tiffen.
Tiffen, while speaking during the commissioning of the acquisition of the said land, said this signals the start of the construction of the project since 68% out of 3,648 project-affected persons were compensated in Uganda and 91% in Tanzania.
He says the acquired land will be transferred to the Uganda Land Commission and leased to EACOP Company Limited to develop the project itself as per the Host Government's Agreement.
Honey Malinga, the Director of Petroleum in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said this is part of the commercialization journey where 50% of the crude will be for export and 50% refined locally.
Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister, Andrew Byakutaga, says oil discovery has enabled the region to witness tremendous development. The region is now opened up with good roads to the rest of the regions.
The Premier has further revealed that he has been receiving complaints from companies in Bunyoro saying they have been sidelined and has asked oil companies to address these issues.
Onesmus Mugyenyi, the Deputy Executive Director for Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) which hosts the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas demanded that civil society organizations (CSOs) be allowed to freely monitor the EACOP project in order to fully be equipped with credible information.
Of the 47 acres of land, the entire 32 project-affected persons have been fully compensated and they are also in the process of constructing 174 replacement houses for the people to be affected by the construction of the pipeline.
Uganda has 6.9 billion confirmed barrels of oil since 2006 where 1.4 billion barrels are considered recoverable.
The projects include a 60, 000 barrels per day oil refinery which will pick crude from two central processing facilities (CPFs) at Kingfisher and Tilenga in Kikuube and Buliisa districts.
The labour camps for the crude oil export pipeline which will transport crude from Hoima District in Uganda to Tanga port in Tanzania shall be located in Hoima, Mubende, Rakai and Kakumiro.
The President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has previously revealed that oil is not a problem to the country as it has been said by some environmental activists.