Experts call for system to mitigate oil activity risks

Environment, oil, and gas experts have called on the Government to come up with tough measures to mitigate the prospective risks involved in oil production, as Uganda gears up for its first oil in 2025. (Photo by Nicholas Oneal)

They argue that an Environment Social Governance (ESG) system will be useful for promoting sustainable development.

Victor Imevbore, the chairman of BRADE Oil and Gas Uganda, said Uganda needs to learn from other countries like Nigeria to do things better.

“Why must you put your fingers in the fire, that you saw burn somebody who was in front of you?" he said on Thursday (April 14) during a business dinner

at Serena Hotel in Kampala to showcase and introduce BRADE Oil and Gas Uganda to the oil sector.

'Life without oil'

Imevbore said the critical theme for any resource exploitation initiative is to bring people out of poverty "sustainably".

“If that is not happening, I would say the country has failed," he said.

"Secondly, fossil fuels cannot last forever. I don’t know how long your reserves are, but the country should start walking towards a life without oil."

BRADE Uganda is part of the wider Brade Group that operates in other African countries, including Nigeria and Ghana.

Imevbore stressed that as long as the adverse effects of producing oil are well known, understood, and planned for, in terms of mitigation measures, then the country should come out on top.

“Don’t let anyone deceive you, this country is about to change because of the amount of investment coming in. It just needs to have systems in place to deal with the mitigations."

Tom Ssengalama, an environmental specialist at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said Uganda should be conscious of the risks that are likely to arise from the oil and gas activities.

“Look at the health risks. We are seeing people coming from all over the world to come and live in these places. What are they coming with?" he said.

"As we displace animals, we see a close association between different animals and people, and we are going to see zoonotic diseases coming up if we are not careful."

Ssengalama said there is need to plan to minimize the displacement and health risks.

“Plan for the emissions, noise pollution, the too much dust, and other climate change."

John Bosco Habumugisha, the deputy managing director of East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), said a company like BRADE which is offering technical services is very essential to the development of the sector.

“We need such companies to come here and help our young people to learn. We have very many youths who are technically ready but without experience. That experience can come from BRADE and other similar entities,” he added.

Early this year, Total Energies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) sealed a landmark $10b (about sh36 trillion) deal to develop Uganda's energy resources and build a 1, 443km long regional oil pipeline.

This was announced and launched by President Yoweri Museveni at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.

Source: New Vision

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