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Government to Commission Study on Water in Oil Production

Dr Callist Tindimugaya, the Commissioner, Water Resources Planning and Regulation says the study expected to begin before the end of the year, will also quantify the amount of water needed to have oil out of the ground.
13 Oct 2017 17:20
Dr. Calist Tindimugaya(L) consulting Water and Environment Minister, Sam Cheptoris

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The Water and Environment Ministry is to commission a study on the potential impact of oil developments on water resources.

Dr Callist Tindimugaya, the Commissioner, Water Resources Planning and Regulation says the study expected to begin before the end of the year, will also quantify the amount of water needed to have oil out of the ground.

Some experts have observed that it will become a big issue during the extraction of oil and gas from the ground, refining processes as well as the transportation of the finished products. They say the amount of oil pumped out requires the injection of the same amount of water into the oil well.

Dr Tindimugaya says the study will also take a further examination of the required water in totality in terms of how much will be used for oil and gas and how much is available for use in other activities.

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The National Association of Professional Environmentalists NAPE has also expressed fear over the potential impact of oil and gas exploration on waters resources.

The NGO says the biggest product of the petroleum industry is not oil, gas or condensate but water adding that billions and billions of water containing dissolved salts and grease would affect access to water.

Tindimugaya says the idea behind the study is to strike a balance between what is needed for oil and gas activities as well as other water-dependent activities. The study is expected to be finalized by mid-2018 as part of the broader goal of having first oil by end of 2020.

Information obtained from a study according to Dr Tindimugaya will be used to safeguard citizens' right to water. It will also be used in the approval of requests for water permits in the oil and gas sector. Tindimugaya says the oil companies can now make some investments decisions but they cannot make others that are hinged on water.

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Uganda and international water law and Trans-boundary water resources management will be required to notify neighbouring countries about the amount of water it expects to extract for oil and gas activities. Some experts estimate that Uganda will require 75,000m3 of water per day during peak production of oil in the Albertine Graben.