By Our Special Writer
The earthmoving equipment is all busy moving from one side to another in a synchronized format. The site seems to stretch as far as the human naked eye could see. There are many people in helmets, reflector jackets, overall suits, and big boots.
This massive construction project is simply called the CPF by the people in helmets and reflector jackets. It emerges CPF stands for the Central Processing Facilities, a key infrastructure project where Uganda’s oil will be processed before it flows in a heated pipeline for 1,445km away to Tanga Port on the Indian Ocean in Tanzania for further shipment to the world. This project is known as Tilenga, a combination of Acholi and Lunyoro/bantu languages for antelope.
The Tilenga CPF, a US$4.5 billion project, will process 190,000 barrels of oil and 700,000 barrels of total liquids per a day from over 426 wells (200 water injector wells, 196 oil producer wells, 2 polymer pilot wells and 28 reference wells) which will be drilled on 31 well pads. The CPF alone occupies 700 acres. Tilenga is run by Total Energies E&P who are in partnership with the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC).
Newly appointed Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) Minister Hon Ruth Nankabirwa is on her inaugural visit in the oil rich Albertine graben. She is accompanied by her two deputies —Peter Lokeris, Minister of State for Minerals and Opolot Okaasai for Energy. Technical officers led by Mr.Honey Malinga, the ministry’s Director for Petroleum; UNOC Chief Executive Officer Ms. Proscovia Nabbanja; and a host of other officials from the Petroleum Authority of Uganda and MEMD are part of the trip. They were welcomed at the site by Ms. Nampeera Mboowa the General Manager Total Energies .
This massive project once complete, Uganda’s oil will start to flow in this part of the Albert graben. Another CPF will be built on the shores of Lake Albert to process oil from the well pads in the Kingfisher Oil Development Area that will be run by CNOOC, the Chinese company that is part of the joint venture with Total Energies and UNOC.
“It is good that construction has kicked off so that we can have the oil out by 2025 as per the roadmap,” Nankabirwa says before reminding the contractors to provide job and business opportunities for indigenous Ugandans. So far 56 people have been employed out of the 150 direct jobs ringfenced for Ugandans.
She insists on Ugandan companies being given opportunities to participate in this oil and gas industry.
Nankabirwa has a message for Ugandan parents and guardians too. “Enroll your children in technical schools such as the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba so that they get the skills to work in such facilities,” she advises.
Nankabirwa’s trip has seen her hold stakeholder engagement meetings with leaders in Nwoya, Hoima, Buliisa, and Kikuube districts that are in the oil and gas areas.
Uganda discovered commercially viable oil deposits in 2006 and has since embarked on establishing linkages to exploit it. Apart from signing agreements with Total Energies and CNOOC as well as Tanzania, the country has built key infrastructure in the area to enable the processes to proceed. An international airport is being built in Kabaale in Hoima and roads are being upgraded to bitumen standard to ease the movement of people. Electricity and water in some areas are being extended.
Local communities are benefiting and areas that were backwaters a few years ago such as Buliisa are now starting to realize their full potential.
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