The village of Sebagoro on Lake Albert, where fishing communities fear oil extraction could destroy their way of life. Photograph: Alice Klein
Oil deal 'threatens Ugandan biodiversity'
9th March, 2012
The discovery of oil in Uganda was a blessing to the impoverished East African country. But before the oil has even started pumping, disputes over tax, accusations of corruption and fears for the environment plague the sector. Alice Klein reports from Hoima
More than two billion barrels worth of crude oil are located under Lake Albert, which sits on the border of Uganda and Congo, and the surrounding forests and waterfalls. The World Bank has excitedly predicted 'black gold' could provide revenues of £1.3 billion per year during peak production thus lifting Uganda's population out of poverty, 40 percent of whom live on less than 80 pence per day.
Oil rights in western Uganda are owned by Anglo-Irish firm Tullow, which recently sold a third each to Total of France and the Chinese state oil company CNOOC in a deal worth £2.9 billion. Controversially, say critics, two rounds of exploration and extraction contracts between Tullow and the Ugandan Government - known as Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) – have not been made public.
Campaign group Platform leaked the original PSAs in 2010 but the new agreements, hurriedly signed by President Museveni in February 2012, remain confidential. Platform has denounced the lack of environmental protection in the deals, saying the agreements fail to include penalties for pollution that are found in other countries such as fines per barrel of oil spilt, as seen in BP's £27 billion bill for the US Gulf...
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