By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) a semi-autonomous institution, established in May 1995, as the principal agency charged with the responsibility of coordinating, monitoring, regulating and supervising environmental management in the country, yesterday issued a certificate of approval to Total East Africa Midstream B.V, for the Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project in the Ugandan Section.
The approval for the Tanzanian section was issued on November 29, 2019. EACOP is a 1,443km crude oil export pipeline system that will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Kabaale – Hoima in Uganda to a maritime port facility on the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga in Tanzania. This export system, (296km in Uganda and 1,147km in Tanzania), comprises a 24inch insulated buried pipeline, 6 Pumping stations (2 in Uganda and 4 in Tanzania) and a marine export terminal.
ESIAs are undertaken to identify and assess the potential environmental, social and health impacts of a project; and subsequently, identify adequate measures to avoid and mitigate potential impacts as well as enhance the project’s benefits. The ESIA studies for EACOP were conducted between 2017 and 2018 and covered extensive physical, biological and social baseline data collection as well as stakeholder engagement.
As required by the National Environment Act and in fulfilment of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations, the first EACOP project report was submitted to NEMA for review on January 15, 2019. The public, including representatives of Project Affected Communities, were engaged to understand their concerns in regard to the project.
The review initially included the consultation/engagement with 20 Lead Agencies including; Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), National Forestry Authority (NFA), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Directorate of Water Resources Management (DWRM), Uganda National Roads Authority UNRA, MLHUD, Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD), Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEDPD), the Petroleum Midstream Department in MEMD; the local governments of Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera.
Having addressed the issues, the developer submitted the final Environment Impact Assessment Report to NEMA on August 7, 2020, and now issued the Certificate of Approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Statement for the EACOP Project.
NEMA Executive Director Dr. Tom Okurut remarked; “NEMA will monitor the project in collaboration with Lead Agencies and key stakeholders, to ensure compliance with the Certificate’s conditions of approval. Monitoring is a continuous process and will be undertaken during the construction, operation and decommissioning phases. This we shall do to ensure that the health, safety and security of the environment, communities and workers.”
The General Manager EACOP project, Martin Tiffen said: “This is a significant milestone for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project and is the result of several years of collaborative work with many specialists and stakeholders to reach this point. The issuance of the EACOP ESIA certificate is a significant milestone for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project and the country, as it brings us closer to the realization of the Final Investment Decision and the subsequent development of the Oil & Gas sector in Uganda.” The East African Crude Oil Pipeline project will yield substantial Foreign Direct Investment in Uganda and Tanzania during the construction phase.
ESIAs are undertaken to define and evaluate the potential social, health, human rights and environmental impacts of a project; and subsequently, avoid these impacts where possible or identify adequate measures to mitigate the potential negative impacts on the environment and society as well as maximize and enhance the benefits of the project.