Cultivators, cattle keepers encroach on refinery land

A man grazes cattle and burns charcoal on the oil refinery land in Kabaale, Hoima District recently. PHOTO | ALEX TUMUHIMBISE

What you need to know:

  • Ms Angella Ambaho Kariisa, the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), public relations and corporate affairs manager, told Daily Monitor early this week that they had forwarded reports of encroachment to the Hoima RDC.

Cultivators and cattle keepers have encroach on the oil refinery land in Hoima District in western Uganda.

The refinery land, which measures about 29 square kilometres in Kabaale parish is becoming a source of conflict between cultivators, cattle keepers, government and local leaders.

The land was acquired by government in 2012 for the construction of the refinery. 

The proposed refinery project also comprises of an industrial park, international airport, storage facilities for crude oil and final products, transmission hub, logistics warehousing, offices, petrochemical industries and associated facilities, among others.

Local leaders said due to prolonged drought in the area, pastoralists have taken advantage and invaded the refinery land since last year with the most affected villages being Nyahaira, Kabaale, Kitegwa B, Nyakasinini, Katooke, and Rugashali.

 Ms Angella Ambaho Kariisa, the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), public relations and corporate affairs manager, told Daily Monitor early this week that they had forwarded reports of encroachment to the Hoima RDC.

 ‘‘We have reported this issue to the resident district commissioner. He convened a meeting in Kabaale last week and was attended by all leaders of Kabaale, UNOC, UPDF and police, ’’ she said.

During the meeting, it was agreed that cultivators and cattle keepers stop any activity on the land. However, the meeting noted that only communities, whose water sources are in the refinery land will be allowed to access such points, noting that UPDF and police personnel will be deployed to protect the land.

The RDC, who doubles as the District Security Committee chairperson, Mr Yosam Tumwebaze, said they have banned pastoralists and cultivators from using the land.

“My office is also investigating some officials accused of hiring government land to herdsmen and cultivators,’’ he said.

Lead investor  

Under the Petroleum Authority, government conducted a competitive bidding process to identify a lead investor for the refinery project. 

The refinery development project was restructured and expressions of interest were received from about 40 firms. Seven were shortlisted for detailed discussions.

Due diligence was undertaken on four consortia, and two consortia progressed to negotiations on the Project Framework Agreement. 

The Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium emerged as the selected lead investor.  The project includes the development of a 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) refinery in Kabaale, Hoima District and a 211 kilometer multi-products pipeline from Kabaale to a distribution hub in Namwambula, Mpigi District.

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