The oil and gas sector in Uganda is at a critical stage. The commercial negotiations, which will impact both the profitability and the sector’s contribution to inclusive development, are in final stages.
The infrastructure required to commercially produce the country’s six billion barrels of oil and gas resources has been clearly defined, including the precise location for the various infrastructure.
This infrastructure includes well pads and flowlines, crude oil pipelines, central processing facilities, a refinery, base camps and access roads, among others.
These facilities are being set up for four key projects - the Tilenga and Kingfisher projects (for development of the fields and production of the crude oil) together with the Refinery and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline projects (the commericalisation projects).
Since Uganda’s oil and gas resources are onshore, the above facilities will be developed on private land acquired from the communities. Additionally, some of the required land belongs to government entities. The said land is acquired after prior, fair and adequate consent and/or compensation of the communities affected.
The halt in field activities for land acquisition for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project (and likewise for the Kingfisher and Tilenga projects) as a result of scaling down of project related activities and later the Covid-19 pandemic, has caused anxiety among the project-affected persons (PAPs).
In addition, false reports state that PAPs have been stopped from using their land while others have been forcefully evicted without compensation.
There are also allegations that the PAPs were made to sign compensation forms without adequate information. The Petroleum Authority of Uganda acknowledges the delay in the compensation process, however, no PAP has been evicted or stopped from using their land.
The 1,443km EACOP will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Kabaale in Hoima District to Tanga in Tanzania for export to the international market.
It will be buried to a depth of about 1 metre below the ground for all its length. In Uganda, the EACOP will cover 296km, through 10 districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera and Rakai.
The EACOP will be laid in a 30-metre corridor and the land for this has already been identified by government. The Kingfisher project covers Kikuube and Hoima districts, whereas the Tilenga Project covers Buliisa and Nwoya Districts.
All the PAPs for the projects have been identified, and the affected property assessed and valued. During the assessment and evaluation exercise, all PAPs (and their spouses) are required to sign on their assessment forms to confirm that what has been captured is indeed what has been taken stock of by the valuers and assessors.
This is done in the presence of local leaders, district leaders, government representatives, including staff of PAU.
The information captured is then compiled into a Valuation Report that states the compensation award for each PAP.
Compensation rates for crops and structures are determined by the district land boards while land rates are determined based on the market value. All these are based on the prevailing market rates for the financial year in question.
The PAPs will be compensated as per the valuation reports approved by the Chief Government Valuer in the Ministry of Lands.
On approval of the valuation reports, the compensation amounts are individually disclosed to the PAPs in the presence of their spouses. A cutoff date is announced after taking stock of affected land and properties.
The announcement is meant to inform PAPs that any and all improvements made on the land would not be eligible for compensation.
Mr Ssekatawa is the director, legal and corporate affairs, Petroleum Authority of Uganda.