CNOOC Uganda Limited on Thursday held a handover ceremony for 56 newly constructed resettlement houses of Project Affected Persons.
The ceremony was attended by officials from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Petroleum Authority of Uganda, district leaders from Hoima and Kikuube, representatives from Joint Venture partners TotalEnergies and Uganda National Oil Company, the Prime Minister Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom as well as PAPs.
The Chief Guest was Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Mineral Development.
The Project Affected Persons who received houses were people whose households were affected during land acquisition that was required for the project development ahead of the construction schedule for infrastructure such as the central processing facility, drilling camp, well pads, infield flow lines, spoil areas, access roads, safety buffers and the feeder pipeline.
The project has implemented four Resettlement Action Plans (RAPs) which include; Legacy RAP – 61 PAPs for the escarpment road, RAP I – 31 PAPs for the CPF, well pads, RAP II 680 PAPs for the Feeder Pipeline, infield lines, access roads and RAP III -16 PAPs for buffer zones for the CPF and well pads. These particular resettlement houses being handed over are part RAP II and RAP III.
The project was able to identify physically displaced PAPs based on the eligibility and entitlements matrix as designed in the Resettlement Action Plan and in-kind compensation was provided to households that were primary residences through construction of replacement houses comprising 3 bedrooms, living room, 1 outdoor kitchen and 1 VIP latrine, rain water harvesting equipment and solar power for lighting and other light energy needs.
A total of 56 resettlement units (inclusive of two institutional toilets for a school and a church) spread across 3 sub counties of Kyangwali, Kabwoya, Buseruka and of 5 parishes of Buhuka, Kyangwali, Butoole, Kaseeta and Kabaale in Hoima and Kikuube districts were officially handed over.
In an effort to mitigate the impacts to the households affected by the project, CNOOC Uganda Limited has also carried out various livelihood restoration programs to skill the PAPs as well as improve their earning potential thus improving livelihoods. These projects include the vocational skilling of children from the households of the PAPs.
This is being carried out in phases with the first two phases already completed where 50 students completed and 100 students receiving training in welding, motorcycle basic mechanics, motor vehicle basic mechanics, building construction, tailoring, catering, hair dressing among others.
Other projects include financial literacy training and business development support targeted 1800 beneficiaries (PAPs and their spouses) for Legacy RAP, RAP1 & RAP2 for PAPs along the feeder pipe line in the 5 Parishes; livestock and crop development livelihood program implemented in Kyangwali sub-county for legacy RAP, RAP1 & RAP2 PAPs in Kybagwali sub-county which targeted 407 PAP households at Buhuka and along the feeder line whereby livestock inputs such as boran bulls, boer goats and poultry and crop inputs (maize, cassava and beans) were delivered; sensitization on communicable and non-communicable diseases was conducted in the 5 parishes of Buhuka, Kyangwali, Butoole, Kaseeta and Kabaale for PAPs along the feeder line.
A representative of the project affected persons Robinson Oketcha gave a speech on how they were given options of compensation for all their property that was affected.
Robinson said that for those whose houses were affected, they were given options of cash compensation or getting a replacement house. He chose a replacement house and he is very happy to receive his house. He described the new house as being a very big upgrade from his old mud house. And finally thanked CNOOC Uganda Limited for fulfilling their duties as a company.
Leaders from Kikuube and Hoima districts including the LC3 chairman, LCV and MP Kazini Francis commended CNOOC for ensuring that delivery of good quality housing is done in a timely manner and also urged CNOOC to continue working together with the communities and leaders in order remain good neighbors in the area and districts of operation.
They particularly thanked CNOOC Uganda Limited for the various projects being carried out to improve livelihoods of the community members.
In his speech at the handover ceremony, Ma Peixin, Vice President, CNOOC Uganda Limited thanked the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and Petroleum Authority of Uganda for the great support rendered towards CNOOC Uganda Limited during the implementation of the project and called for continued support as project activities increase.
Ma thanked the community at large for the continued support to the project and welcoming CNOOC Uganda Limited to their community. He further echoed CNOOC Uganda Limited’s commitment to being a good neighbor and always striving to create Win-Win relationships with the local community. He also thanked the PAPs for the trust they put in CNOOC Uganda Limited.
He said "this was a testament to the commitment CNOOC Uganda Limited has to fulfill its obligations and continued operation according to national and international best practices and guidelines especially the IFC standards."
Ma concluded noted that "CNOOC Uganda Limited reaffirms its commitment to the efficient and effective development of the Kingfisher Development Area in a health, safe, environmentally friendly and sustainable manner."
The chief guest commended CNOOC Uganda Limited for the job well done on delivering the of Uganda and International Best Practice.
Minister Lokeris said the handover of the resettlement houses is a big milestone for the oil and gas projects as it signifies that the EPC contractors can access the project acquired lands without encumbrances giving assurances of meeting the schedule for first oil in Q2 2025.