Total is a major stakeholder in Uganda’s first major oil drilling program. About 6.5 million barrels, with 1.4 billion recovered almost 20 years ago, of crude oil reserves have been discovered in the Ugandan western region, in the Lake Albertine basin, Kingfisher, and Tilenga oilfields. 200,000 barrels are expected for daily production when processing starts and to achieve this, the project will be divided into two parts. The first part is Tilenga which will involve pumping and processing the oil. There is a plan for thirty-one extraction zones for a total of about 430 wells alongside a processing plant. The second part is the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) which will involve the construction of more than 1,440 kilometers of underground pipeline. It is projected to be the world’s longest heated pipeline. However, Uganda’s oil extraction problem is faced around the fact that it will take place in the Murchison Falls Park which is a classified site under the protection of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The park is the most visited in the country and has 144 mammal species, more than 500 bird species, reptiles, and amphibians. In Tanzania, the oil pipeline will be running through government land whereas if it were to run through Kenya, which is a more direct route, it would have been costlier as land there is mostly privately owned and expensive. Experts have indicated that fossil fuels must be maintained underground to prevent the worst effects in cases of climate emergencies. This will also enhance the goal of curbing global warming. The African continent is considered to be rich in energy resources like the sun and wind. Despite the abundant sunshine which is ideal as a source of renewable energy, the continent depends heavily on crude oil. The continent also contributes the least to global warming and has the lowest total greenhouse gas emissions but remains the most vulnerable - faces systemic risks to infrastructure, food and water systems, public health and livelihoods, that threaten to undo development gains that have been undertaken over time and increase extreme poverty levels. These challenges have constantly stood in the way of African countries in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically in the areas of better healthcare, climate change management, poverty reduction, and sustained economic growth.
Thursday, February 22