Monday, October 03, 2022
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Why Uganda is investing in oil despite pressures to go green

The heat is unbearable; the haze merges the sky, lake and land; kingfishers dive and rise as if playing with the wind coming off Lake Albert, near vast oil reserves which Uganda wants to start exploiting.

This section of the Rift Valley - a geological scar which runs through East Africa - is being transformed by a fledgling oil business.

There are environmental concerns and questions over whether it is too late for an oil boom - but there is no disputing that change is coming to the wide valley floor, below the steep escarpment.

One end is dotted with iron-sheet houses, at the other excavators are busy clearing ground for what will be the Kingfisher oil field's main processing facility in mid-western Uganda.

A once-treacherous dirt road leading down the valley side is now a winding tarmacked route which carries the equipment needed.

It is hoped that by 2025 the first of a potential 1.4 billion barrels of oil will be pumped from this and other wells across this region.

At the beginning of the month, Uganda, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and France's TotalEnergies signed the Final Investment Decision (FID), a major step towards developing the country's oil and gas industry.

More than $10bn (£7.4bn) will be invested in the joint venture. The money will be used to develop several upstream facilities as well as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, which will run for 1,400km (870 miles) from landlocked Uganda to the port of Tanga in neighbouring Tanzania.


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