France's TotalEnergies Starts Commercial Drilling at Uganda Project
07.27.2023 By News - NEWS

July 27, 2023 [ZAWYA]- TotalEnergies and its partner, China’s CNOOC, have said production in Tilenga will hit a peak of 190,000 barrels per day.


France’s TotalEnergies said on Wednesday it had begun commercial drilling this month at its Tilenga petroleum project in Uganda’s west ahead of an expected start of oil production in the east African country in 2025.

TotalEnergies has faced fierce resistance from environmental protection groups and green energy campaigners who say the Tilenga project, which is partly located in a national park, and a planned crude oil export pipeline are a disaster for the planet.

“Drilling of the Tilenga wells began in July 2023, with production scheduled to start in 2025. A total of 420 wells will be drilled at Tilenga,” a spokesperson for TotalEnergies said.

TotalEnergies and its partner, China’s CNOOC, have said production in Tilenga will hit a peak of 190,000 barrels per day.

Tilenga is one of Uganda’s two oil projects. Commercial drilling at Kingfisher, the second project – which is controlled by CNOOC – begun in January.

A coalition of environmental pressure groups said on Wednesday that drilling in the Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) and the associated crude oil pipeline was detrimental to global efforts to cut reliance on fossil fuels and would devastate the park’s ecosystem.

“The decision by TotalEnergies and its partners to drill for oil within MFNP, while ignoring the biodiversity conservation, climate change and socio-economic risks … is a direct contradiction to the global urgency to protect our remaining wild spaces and reduce fossil fuel reliance,” they said in a statement.

The park, one of Uganda’s largest and most visited, is bisected by the River Nile and is famed for its spectacular vistas and rich biodiversity that includes wild animals such as elephants, giraffes, hippos and chimpanzees.

The park is also home to a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention – the Murchison Falls-Albert Delta Wetland System.

TotalEnergies says it is committed to protecting the park’s biodiversity and that development will be limited to an area that is less than 1% of the park land.

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