The Uganda National Oil Company spent four days hosting the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) for an exclusive tour of the Oil and Gas Project areas. Founded in 2001, the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), is an indigenous, national faith-based organization uniting efforts of religious institutions to jointly address issues of common concern. IRCU is constituted by the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of the Province of Uganda, the Uganda Orthodox Church, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, the Seventh-day Adventist Uganda Union, the Born-Again Faith in Uganda and the National Alliance of Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches in Uganda.
The immersive tour kicked off at the IRCU headquarters, where the clergy were flagged off by Hon Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Mineral Development. The significance of this collaboration was underscored by UNOC's Chief Legal & Corporate Affairs Officer, Peter Muliisa.
He emphasized the crucial need for sustainable exploration and resource utilization within the sector. He also highlighted the pivotal role of IRCU in disseminating essential information about these monumental projects to the wider population.
The expedition commenced with a visit to the Uganda Petroleum Institute of Kigumba (UPIK). IRCU leadership had paid a prior visit in 2009 when UPIK was a mere forest, commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni. They were astonished that the once-thick foliage has transformed into a fully-fledged technical institute, diligently training, and producing skilled technicians for the oil and gas sector.
An inspiring success story emerged during the visit about Collins Mwesiga, who started as a cleaner at UPIK seven years ago and absorbed knowledge and training during his cleaning duties. Recognizing his brilliance, the institute supported him in acquiring numerous certifications. Today, he serves as a workshop technician, a testament to the transformative power of education and opportunity in Uganda’s Oil and Gas sector.
The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda’s tour of Uganda’s Oil and Gas projects saw the days begin with sessions of devotion led by the religious leaders followed by comprehensive briefings from Peter Muliisa, the Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer. The focus of the briefings was on Uganda's oil and gas sector, covering key updates on various projects, including Tilenga, Kingfisher and Kasuruban, a prospective oil and gas block. Others were the EACOP, Kabalega Industrial Park, refinery, Kabalega International Airport, Jinja and Kampala storage terminals, and crude oil trading.
The activities progressed with a visit to Kabalega Industrial Park (KIP), a strategic site that will encompass Uganda's second International Airport, a Crude Oil Export hub, the Uganda Refinery, and facilities for petrochemical and fertilizer industries, among others. The tour included insights into the multifaceted aspects of the park's development.
Following the KIP visit, the team paid a visit to Enviroserv, an Oil and Gas waste management company. The importance of this visit lay in understanding the crucial role played by Enviroserv in managing the hazardous wastes generated by petrochemical production processes. The handling of such wastes requires a high level of expertise to ensure proper and environmentally conscious management.
The last day marked the conclusion of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda's tour of the country's Oil and Gas projects. A notable highlight was the visit to the Tilenga Project, under the management of TotalEnergies E&P Uganda. The group had the privilege of exploring various facets of the project, including the Industrial Area (Central Processing Facility) and the associated camps.
A significant aspect of the visit involved interacting with Project Affected Persons (PAPs), who have experienced positive transformations in their living conditions due to the project. The council took the time to visit these individuals in their new and improved resettlement housing, gaining firsthand insights into the improvements in their lives. (Before and after pictures of housing)
During these interactions, the council had the opportunity to hear testimonials from the PAPs, shedding light on how their livelihoods have been positively impacted by the project. A noteworthy example was a member of the community who, thanks to the project, has embarked on the production and sale of honey. Her inspiring journey was shared with the religious leaders, culminating in a heartening moment as she successfully sold all her honey to them. The leaders closed off the visit by praying for and blessing both the projects and the people working day and night to implement them.
This collaborative endeavour between UNOC and IRCU underscores the commitment to sustainable practices and inclusive information dissemination for the benefit of the nation. END