Local communities call for job creation under African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project:

 

By: Mugwanya George William

 

The ministry of Energy and Minerals Development in conjunction with Total Oil Company have embarked on convocations with district leaders from the eight districts which were demarcated for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) from the Albertan in Bunyoro to Tanzania.

Construction of the $3.5m East African Crude Oil Pipeline is expected to commerce next year 2018 and will be completed in 2020. It is estimated that during the three years construction phase, between 6,000 to 10,000 jobs will be required and during the operation phase, up to 1000 jobs will be required by the project which local leaders question if it will genuinely solve the unemployment gaps among the locals communities.

These estimates are direct hire and do not include indirect or induced jobs which will be as the result of the project, according to project implementing organs.

It is estimated that a total of between 200,000 and 230,000 barrels of oil will be produced per day from all the production licences granted in the country.

The districts that were demarcated for the project includes Hoima, Kibale, Kyankwanzi, Kiboga, Mubende, Gomba, Ssembabule and Rakai districts and finally to Tanzania.

Christine Ainebyona, the in-charge of the Pipeline in the ministry of Energy and Minerals said, in partnership with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), World Bank and the government of Tanzania have gone milestones towards the progress of this project, including environmental assessments and now have embarked on finding local communities in various districts that are yet to be affected by the project.

Addressing district leaders from Mubende and Gomba at Mubende district headquarters at Kaweeri, Ainebyona Christine assured the leadership that the government together with implementing partners is to dully compensate affected communities as soon as the procurement process starts in relation to auditor general’s structures, although royality benefits to the local community is still a challenge at the moment.

District leaders expressed dissatisfaction on how the affected districts in Uganda will directly benefit from the oil project because it is presumed that all oil refineries shall be done outside Uganda.

Different officials welcomed the project however asking the construction Companies to consider unemployed bonafide youth first, and not only employing imported man-power as experienced on contraction companies behind the construction of Maddu-Ggomba Road.

Ggomba district Chairperson Kiviiri Geoffrey said, this project comes with many opportunities that require unskilled man power which can be exploited by the locals, and vowed to oppose the project one they are denied priority.

The government of Uganda last year licensed three oil companies with eight Petroleum Production Licenses over oil fields in Exploration Area 2 (EA2) and Exploration Area 1 (EAI) respectively. Five Petroleum Production Licenses were granted to Tallow Uganda Operations Pty Limited (Tullow), the operator for EA2, and three Petroleum Production Licenses being granted to Total E&P Uganda, the operator of EAI.

Tallow and Total applied as operators of the two respective exploration areas which they both share equally with CNOOC Uganda Ltd (CNOOC).

Purified fuel and other produced products are expected to compete in both local and foreign markets.

Ibrahim Kasiita, a communications specialist from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has urged Leaders from these districts to identify key opportunities that will help the community to benefit from East African Crude Oil Pipeline that is to be constructed by Government.

He underscored that local content is a key value for the ECAOP project participants and will be fully integrated in the contracting strategy as well as the training programs.

The EACOP project includes the construction and operation of 1445 km of insulated 24 inch pipeline through Uganda and Tanzania, 8 stations and a marine export terminal at Chongoleani, near Tanga Port. It includes as well fiber optic cable, block valves and high voltage lines to supply power to the various heating stations for the pipeline.

Once completed, the EACOP project will be the longest electrically heated pipeline in the world and Uganda’s share is expected at US $ 1.5billion per year in terms revenue.

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