Petroleum Authority of Uganda issues statement on pollution caused by the Tilenga Project activities

The ongoing Tilenga Project activities seem to have caused some havoc in accordance to environmental pollution and degradation and for that matter, The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has issued a clarification about the reported dust from the Tilenga oil project activities in Buliisa District.

The Authority mentions that indeed there may be a huge gust of air pollution from the site with a lot of dust as well but it is not because the ongoing projects are harmful but it is due to the heavy winds that blow the dust during the operations. They mention that all the ongoing activities are friendly to the environment as well as the community but the gust of wind shall settle after the dry spell and everything shall go back to normal.

The statement from PAU reads as follows;

The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) has noted several media reports regarding air pollution from the Tilenga oil project activities in Buliisa District. The reports indicate that “community members from five villages neighbouring the oil Central Processing Facility in Buliisa District have petitioned the Ministry of Health complaining about the air pollution generated by the ongoing construction works for the Tilenga project

This Authority empathises with the impacted communities and clarifies that indeed, there are ongoing construction works in Buliisa District, at the Tilenga Project Industrial Area, which will host the Central Processing Facility, Construction Support Base, Construction Camps and Drilling Support Base. These works commenced in May 2021 and constitute part of the early works for the enabling infrastructure to be put in place for the Tilenga project.

All Tilenga project activities, like other oil and gas activities in other parts of the Albertine Graben, are undertaken with due consideration to the environment and host communities. This includes ensuring that all identified adverse impacts during project implementation are mitigated.

The current high dust levels are a result of very strong winds coupled with a prolonged dry spell within Buliisa District and the surrounding areas. This situation is not only affecting the Tilenga Project Industrial site area but a wider landscape within Buliisa District. To deal with this challenge, the frequency of water spraying has been increased to suppress the dust generated. In addition, site activities that generate high dust levels have been scaled down, and vehicle movements are being limited within and outside the operation areas. Therefore, the situation being witnessed is largely temporary and is worsened by natural factors. The above measures are being continuously implemented to reduce the dust emissions, and it also is expected that the situation shall normalise once the dry spell and strong winds ease.