Uganda: Communities displaced for oil-related infrastructure allege unfair compensation by oil companies; Total responds

Local communities in oil-rich Buliisa district that hosts the oil and gas processing facility has threatened to sue multinational companies over alleged unfair compensation. In its response, Total has said that its resettlement complies with international standards.

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Article
20 February 2018

Oil host communities allege unfair compensation by oil companies

Author: Maria Wamala, New Vision (Uganda)

"Oil and gas hosting community threatens to sue govt"

The Bagunga community in Buliisa district that hosts the oil and gas processing facility has threatened to sue the Government and the multinational companies over what they called unfair treatment and a raw deal. “We are ready to take legal action both nationally and internationally to get a fair and mutually acceptable deal for the community members on issues of compensation, resettlement and the negative spillover effects,” Bagunga Community Association head Enoch Bigirwa said.

While petitioning the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to intervene in the oil and gas disputes in Buliisa, Bigirwa said oil and gas exploration companies have showed no regard for the indigenous communities. “Prospectors had the audacity to access people’s land and even houses without prior notice, denying them the right to information prior to developments on land,” he said...

Buliisa County MP Stephen Mukitale said the processes regarding oil exploration and now production phase have been shrouded with secrecy. “This has led to speculators with prior knowledge of lucrative sites to grab land so that they can claim hefty fees in future.” Mukitale said, citing Francis Kahwa as one of the culprits.Mukitale said: “After chasing pastoralists from Bulisa, Kahwa appeared. Why is it that all the kilometers where the pipeline is passing are all his? Why is it that all the 48 oil wells in Biliisa are in his land? Why is it that all the Central Processing Facility (CPF) area is in his land? Who is giving him that information? Is he in security, land ministry, oil company or in the ministry of energy?” Mukitale queried, adding that the Government has failed to clear air on the matter.

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Company response
20 February 2018

Total's response

Author: Total

                                                       "Total’s response"

We would like to provide the following clarifications:

-   In order to standardize the approach to long-term land acquisition and resettlement in the project areas, the three Joint Venture Partners, Total, Tullow and CNOOC, of petroleum fields to be developed in the Albertine Graben region of Uganda, in collaboration with the local authorities, have formulated a Land Acquisition and Resettlement Framework (LARF). This LARF document proposes a voluntary and consistent approach that is compliant with national legislation, international standards and in particular the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standards 5 on Involuntary Resettlement and Land Acquisition, and best practices to further safeguard against social risks. The document consolidation was facilitated by establishing the first inter-ministerial Resettlement Advisory Committee (RAC)

-    In October 2016, prior to its endorsement, the draft LARF as amended by the RAC was disclosed to the affected Districts, to the local leadership and traditional authorities, as well as to civil society organizations. Communication materials such as posters and leaflets were specifically developed and designed to be used at village level and translated into the four local languages to ensure widespread outreach

-    Following the endorsement of the final LARF in December 2016, the RAC is monitoring and advising the partners on the development of projects.  The LARF is publically available on the internet at the following links:

 

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