The True Oil And Gas Narrative

About Tilenga, Uganda’s Top Priority Oil Project

What is the Tilenga project?

Tilenga is the project name for the development of petroleum production facilities in Block 1 and the Northern part of Block 2 located in Buliisa and Nwoya districts in Uganda’s Albertine valley. The name Tilenga is derived from the two local names for the Uganda Kob (antelope), called Til in Luo and Engabi in Lunyoro.

The project logo as shared by Uganda National Oil Company.

The antelope is the national animal of Uganda and also one of the main animals found in Murchison Falls National Park. The name Tilenga therefore depicts the rich biodiversity and the eco sensitivity of the project.

Joint Venture Partners; Total, Tullow and CNOOC say Tilenga further symbolizes their commitment to develop Uganda’s hydrocarbon resource, the social economic transformation of not only their area of operation but also the country at large as well as the protection of the environment.

Who are the Tilenga Oil Project Developers?

Tilenga is being developed by the JV Partners (Total E&P Uganda, Tullow Oil Plc and CNOOC). Following a farmdown by Tullow Oil in 2012, Total and CNOOC became equal partners with each holding a 33.3% interest.

Consequently, Total, Tullow and CNOOC became operators for Blocks 1, 2 and 3A respectively.

The government of Uganda has exercised its right to participate in this Joint Venture with a 15% interest through its private subsidiary Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC).

Tullow and CNOOC had commenced discussions to acquire an additional 21.57% of Tullow’s shares in Blocks 1, 2 and 3A. These talks flopped after partners failed to agree with the taxman, Uganda Revenue Authority on a levy. Tullow suspended the sale. If it were successful, Total and CNOOC will own 37.5% interest while Tullow and UNOC would have 10% and 15% respectively.

What are the characteristics of the Tilenga project?

The Project Area is naturally split between the North and south banks of the Victoria Nile River. This are includes Murchison Falls National Park which is the largest and over the recent years the most visited national park in Uganda and it is ecologically important for a number of important species and receptors. Together with the adjacent Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and Karuma Wildlife Reserve Murchison Falls National Park forms part of Murchison Falls Protection  Area (MFPA).

The area South Of Victoria Nile is characterized by a population density of approximately 44 persons per square kilometer who rely heavily on subsistence-based livelihood activities like fishing, farming and rearing livestock.

In consideration of the high sensitivity of the project area, the project proponents say they are committed to implementing the project toward “highest environmental and social international standards” like the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards (PS) and Guidelines.

What components comprise the Tilenga project?

The project will include the following permanent facilities .

Approximately 400 wells drilled from 30 well pads across six oil fields.

An Industrial Area, including a Central Processing Facility (CPF), operations camp to house workers,, operations support base and drilling support base, a community/visitors’ center, security camp and logistics support center;

  • A Lake Water Abstraction System at Lake Albert;
  • A Production and Injection Network of pipelines and cables;
  • Upgraded and some new access roads;
  • Victoria Nile Ferry crossing facility;
  • Tangi Operation Support Base (north of Victoria Nile); and
  • Upgrade of Bugungu airstrip

A number of facilities which are required on a temporary basis are

  • Temporary facilities at the Tangi Construction Support Base;
  • Buliisa and Bugungu Construction Camp (existing camps);
  • Masindi Vehicle Check Point;
  • Temporary facilities within the industrial area, including; construction support base to support the project south of Victoria Nile and Construction Camp to accommodate for works south of the Victoria Nile.

What is the status of the Project?

Several strides have been made in order to move the Uganda Oil Project forward and these include;

  • The Selection of the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors is currently ongoing, CB&I and Fluor have completed the competitive Front End Engineering Design (FEED). The EPC contract will be awarded when the FID has been reached.
  • The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for Tilenga project has been submitted for government approval on June 8, 2018. International standards such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards (PS) are being applied in the execution of a comprehensive Environment & Social Impact Assesment.
  •  The process for acquisition of land for the project facilities commenced in 2017 and to-date, more than 90% of Project Affected Persons have been compensated for the priority land required for the Industrial Area. In addition, preparations are ongoing for the acquisition of land required for the South Nile components including well pads and flowlines as part of Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) 2 as well as land for the feeder pipeline that is part of the RAP4. Cadastral and aerial surveys have been conducted for both RAP 2 and 4.

When should we expect first oil?

The first oil should be achieved about three years after the Final Investment Decision (FID) has been undertaken. The FID will trigger to the project execution and construction of both the Tilenga and EACOP project. All parties are fully committed and are endeavoring to achieve this in the shortest timeline possible. Together the partners and the GoU have adopted a fast track approach to the development of Uganda’s oil resources in the most efficient and robust manner.

What is FID and why is it important?

Final Investment Decision (FID) is a decision that is reached by the partners in order to proceed with the project execution. The FID is made upon the completion of various requirements that include but are not limited to acquisition of appropriate environment and land authorizations, financing arrangement and completion of infrastructure designs.

How many wells will be drilled in order to extract the oil from the ground?

In a deliberate effort to minimize the project’s footprint, about 400 wells will be drilled using about 30 well pads. Well pads will be constructed on land up to 12 Ha. The wells will consist of both production and injection wells. A network of interfield pipelines will collect the oil produced from each well pad and transport it to the CPF located within the industrial are to be locate in Ngwedo sub-county, Buliisa District, outside MFNP.

What will be the distance between these wells?

There will be a distance of 8 meters between each well to avoid well collision and to ensure efficient drilling and hook up of the well to the flowlines.

Source: As supplied by Total E&P Uganda