Total E&P Uganda (TEPU), which is as part of the Tilenga Oil Project in the oil-rich Albertine graben, has abandoned two oil wells within the iconic Murchison Falls National Park.
The manager for operations and compliance at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, Mr Felix Bob Ocitti, revealed this information during a guided media tour in the Albertine graben at the weekend.
The wells, named Jobi East and Mpyo, situated north of Lake Albert in Nwoya District, were deemed economically unviable due to limited oil deposits.
‘‘It [TEPU] is working on 426 Oil wells, half of them being producer wells and the remaining half are injector wells that help to pump water underground to push Crude Oil onto the land surface,” Mr Ocitti said.
He added that the latest development is in line with the stipulations outlined in the country’s oil laws, which state that a company is granted two years for exploration and an additional two years for the development of any oil well for production. After this period elapses, the government reassumes ownership of the resource.
TEPU has chosen to focus its efforts on six other oil fields that show greater promise.
They include Rii, Ngiri, Kasamene, Gunya, Nsonga, and Kigogole. The company is overseeing the Tilenga Oil Project, the largest oil drilling project in the region, which utilises three rigs or oil drilling machines.
However, the continued exploration and production of oil in the fragile ecosystem of Murchison Falls National Park have raised concerns among environmental activists.
They fear that such activities could disrupt the park’s flora and fauna.
Mr Dickens Kamugisha, the executive director of the African Institute for Energy Governance, emphasised that no further oil activities should be allowed in critical ecosystems, particularly Murchison Falls National Park.
The park attracts a significant number of tourists to Uganda and contributes approximately $1.6 billion in revenue annually.
Mr James Amale, a civil works structural supervisor at the Tilenga Industrial Park and Central Processing Facility, reassured critics that oil extraction within the national park would employ technology aimed at minimising the ecological footprint.
He explained that the well pads in Murchison Falls National Park have been strategically positioned to minimise their impact, and directional drilling technology would be employed to extract the oil.
Source: Africa Press