By Juma Nsubuga
The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu has handed over the first batch of replacement houses to persons affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) at Nkoma village in the Lwengo district.
EACOP Ltd, the company licensed to construct the 1443km crude oil export infrastructure that will transport Uganda’s crude oil from Kabaale-Hoima in Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near Tanga in Tanzania for export to the international market, has completed the construction of 43 out of 178 resettlement houses along the route.
The houses are to benefit the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) in the Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Sembabule, Rakai, Kyotera, and Lwengo districts.
The Minister, while officiating at the handover ceremony, commended the Company for the fulfilment of the commitments towards the PAPs and the continued support offered to them during the land acquisition process.
Nankabirwa also sent a message to the EACOP project naysayers: “I hope the world is watching what is happening here in Nkoma village in Uganda. We promised to implement this project while safeguarding the environment and transforming the lives of our people. We shall sustainably exploit Uganda’s natural resources for social and economic transformation.”
The Minister assured the residents of the areas traversed by the oil pipeline that the 170,000 barrels of crude oil would go through areas daily without them even noticing. “You will not even smell the oil or hear it flow here in Nkoma village. The pipeline is going to be burried two metres in the ground. On top of the handsome compensation you’re getting from the company, you people will be allowed to grow seasonal crops on the surface.”
Martin Tiffen, Managing Director, EACOP Ltd, said, “This resettlement housing construction is both a 100% National Content effort and also a representation of our commitment to undertaking the development of the EACOP Project responsibly and sustainably while observing the laws and regulations of Uganda, the Equator Principles IV and the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards.”
In Uganda, 203 of the 2,648 PAPs are physically displaced, and of these, 178 have opted for replacement housing as in-kind compensation instead of monetary compensation.
The construction of the 178 houses is being executed by Ugandan construction Companies: Technical Masters Ltd, Egis Engineering Contractors, Excel Construction, and Epsilon.
EACOP Ltd also contracted two supervision contractors: KATT Consult Ltd and Bureau Veritas Uganda Ltd, for quality assurance and control.
EACOP Ltd was formed shortly after the taking of the Final Investment Decision (FID) on February 1, 2022. Its shareholders are TotalEnergies (62%), Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC – 15%), Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC – 15%) and CNOOC Uganda Ltd (8%).