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NEMA Delays Neptune Oil Exploration in West Nile

The third test oil drilling in West Nile that was expected to take place in December in Obongi has been postponed after National Environment Management Authority has failed to approve the environmental impact assessment (EIA).
The third test oil drilling in West Nile that was expected to take place in December in Obongi has been postponed after National Environment Management Authority failed to approve the environmental impact assessment (EIA).

This comes after the residents occupying the land on which the oil drilling exercise was to take place, raised several complains over the little compensation being offered to them by Neptune Uganda, the oil company that is currently doing oil exploration in the region.

David Nelson Nkutu, the Environment Advisor for Neptune Uganda says because of the delay in approval of the EIA by NEMA, they have pushed the test drilling to either January or February next year.

He says this is despite the fact that their license for oil exploration in Obongi is due to expire in March. He wondered how they will catch up if the environment management body takes more time because before they are supposed to do the test drilling there several arrangements to be made.

Nkutu says three families are going to be affected but as Neptune they will build new houses for them so that when they are relocated they leave comfortable lives.

Neptune that started oil exploration in Arua district shifted to Obongi in Moyo district early this year after they failed to strike oil in two sites in Arua. The first were Avivi One and Iti all in Arua district. Since they shifted to Obongi, many residents who were affected by the activities have been complaining over meager compensation given to them after their properties are destroyed.

Jeffery Abanga, a resident whose land has been affected by the operations of the company says they are not happy with the money being paid to them by the company. He claims that the company told them they would be paid 300 shillings per each cassava plant destroyed which he says is just a mockery.

But Nkutu asked the community to bear with the company because they got the compensation rates from the government.

Apart from the residents whose crops have been destroyed, those whose land is going to be used for oil drilling have also petitioned the district to intervene so that the oil exploration company compensates them adequately. According to the earlier arrangements, the company had planned to only pay 4.8 million shillings to over 50 people who are going to be displaced.

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