Uganda Suspends CNOOC Works At Kingfisher Oil Project Over Safety Concerns

Uganda Suspends CNOOC Works At Kingfisher Oil Project Over Safety Concerns

By Spy Uganda 

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has suspended drilling and other operations at the Kingfisher Project in the Kikuube district following a fatal accident registered on Friday at the site.

In a letter addressed to the CNOOC Uganda President, the PAU Executive Director, Mr Earnest Rubondo directed CNOOC to halt operations from 7th October 2023 until further notice.

“The Petroleum Authority of Uganda has learnt of a fatal incident within the Kingfisher project area that occurred today, 6th October 2023. This regrettable incident follows several safety incidents that this authority has previously brought to the attention of CNOOC Uganda Limited (CUL). This trend is unacceptable as it compromises the safety of the personnel and damages the safety of the sector” Mr Rubondo’s letter said in part.

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Reports say that there had been a tragic motor vehicle accident at the Kingfisher Project Development Area in Kikuube District, on Friday.

Rubondo, the Executive Director of the PAU, which regulates the oil and gas sector in Uganda, said the accident could have been avoided.

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“The purpose of this letter is therefore to direct that in accordance with Section 177 of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act, 2013 CUL halts all Kingfisher field development operations from 00.00 hours on Saturday 7th October 2023 until further notice…,” reads Rubondo’s letter.

On Sunday, the PAU called a meeting of all top executives of joint venture partners, CNOOC, TotalEnergies and Uganda National Oil Company, to review the incident at Kingfisher and guide on the fate of the ongoing oilfield developments.

Located in the Southeast of Lake Albert, Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA) is one of Uganda’s key oil and gas projects. The name is derived from a fish-eating bird-Kingfisher– common there. It is in Buhuka “flat”, Kyangwaali in Kikuube district.

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On January 24th, 2023, President Yoweri Museveni launched spudding (drilling) following the successful erection of a rig; LR8001 specially designed for deep offshore oil wells and his government believes the first production of this oil will be in 2025. 

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