The Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA) received some green light after securing an Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) approval certificate from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) on 10th March 2020.
The award of the certificate follows the input of all the relevant key stakeholders who submitted their comments on the KFDA through public hearings and consultations that were held on the 19th and 21st June 2019, in Kikuube and Hoima districts respectively.
The consultations provided an opportunity for the host communities and the general public to give comments and recommendations on pertinent issues that they felt should be considered during project development. In accordance with the provisions of Part X of the National Environment Act No.5 of 2019, NEMA subjected the KFDA ESIA to a review process that also revealed concerns that required CNOOC to address before a final approval decision could be made.
It is from this background that CNOOC Uganda Limited made revisions in line with the detailed review findings that were issued by NEMA for making necessary improvements in the ESIA report. After considering all the required revisions, CNOOC Uganda Limited resubmitted the KFDA ESIA report on 18th November, 2019 and all issues were addressed to NEMA's satisfaction hence culminating into the award of the ESIA certificate.
Zhao Shunqiang, the President, CNOOC Uganda Limited, noted that "This is a great milestone for CNOOC Uganda Limited and the development of the oil and gas project in Uganda. It is a step closer to Final Investment Decision and realization of first oil."
Clarifying on the Final Investment Decision, Aminah Bukenya, the media and publicity manager of CNOOC Uganda noted that "For every item we tick off towards the First Oil is a milestone for the industry. The Environmental & Social Impact Assessment Certificate is one such item on the checklist, which draws us closer to First Oil.
"There are pre-requisite conditions for FID to be undertaken, one of which is the ESIA approvals for the development of the different projects in the area. We have the commercials, facilities which include infield roads, the camps and many others. In this particular case, if we have a checklist and one of the things is ticked off, we are a step closer. So, the FID for the pipeline is part of the checklist but it is not the only item. Securing a certificate is a milestone for us because we believe as we complete some of these items it is a step towards the big announcement," she said.
Robert Kasande, the permanent secretary of Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, said last year that the announcement of Final Investment Decision (FID) for the Kingfisher and Tilenga oil fields is dependent on the FID of the proposed East African Crude Oil Export Pipeline.
"We would not want to develop an oil field without the attendant facilities which means it will lie there idle. So, we have synchronized the Kingfisher FID to that of the pipeline and Tilenga so that we move at once," Kasande told journalists at the ministry offices in Kampala.
In a press statement, Tom Okurut, the NEMA Executive Director said: "We are pleased to issue this certificate in line with the principle of sustainable development. NEMA shall continue to maintain an efficient mechanism for sustainable environment and natural resource management."
Last year in April NEMA issued an ESIA certificate to Total E&P for the TLENGA oil development project while the ESIA report for the pipeline was submitted later last year.