TotalEnergies targets excellence in UgandaJune 24, 2022
Philippe Groueix, country chair and general manager of TotalEnergies EP Uganda, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s activities following Uganda’s landmark FID and efforts to support local content and lower carbon emissions. TotalEnergies is active in Uganda’s upstream in the Albertine Rift Basin, in the midstream through the East African Crude Oil Pipeline and in the downstream.
What are the company’s expectations for the Tilenga Project following the FID?
The past year has been very important. Key agreements were signed in April 2021 that led to the announcement of the FID in February 2022. As early as May 2021, we began issuing conditional letters of award to our main contractors to begin preliminary civil works activity on the Tilenga Project. This allowed us to jump into the construction phase immediately following the signing of the FID.
The beginning of drilling activities will be a crucial milestone for the project. Construction of the drilling rig in China is progressing very well, and final tests will happen in the summer of 2022. We expect the first rig to reach Uganda in autumn and to begin drilling operations in December 2022.
The programme will see 426 wells drilled over 31 well pads, using what we call a factory drilling method, whereby the duration of drilling on each well is short and optimised. The learning curve is quite steep; the first well may take 25 days to be drilled and the last one less than 10 days. This sharp learning curve will be one of the key success factors of the project.
Another milestone will be the installation of the first equipment for the central processing facility. This very symbolic and important moment is expected in Q1 2023.
The land acquisition programme is expected to be completed by August 2022 (with all compensations paid) while the last resettlement houses will be delivered in January 2023.
Finally, the most important milestone that we have all in our sights is to deliver first oil in 2025.
The journey is still long and in a development of this magnitude, unforeseen events will inevitably happen. Excellence in project management means anticipating them as far as possible and mitigating them.
Our commitment is to be exemplary in all aspects of the project: safety, social, environmental and technical.
What is TotalEnergies doing to protect biodiversity and assist residents in areas of operation?
Our commitment is to have a positive contribution on biodiversity through a range of programmes which have been set by local and international experts together with authorities and local communities.
These programmes are articulated around four pillars: reducing human pressure on Murchison Falls National Park and supporting its management resources, protecting chimpanzee habitat by conserving natural forest and restoring forest connectivity, conserving and restoring wetlands and protecting the integrity and connectivity of the savanna.
On social, our target is that all project affected persons (PAPs) will have enhanced livelihood standards compared to what they had before. For that we need to follow all project-affected persons one by one, which we do through our livelihood restoration programme. For example, we have helped communities improve their agricultural skills. Through our measures, farmers are more productive, sell more products and get more revenue. Others want to start new businesses and require skills training in either technical, financial or business management. We have a variety of programmes adapted to their aspirations that we continue to monitor regularly.
More generally, we aim to positively impact (beyond the PAPs) as many people as possible and we have developed many initiatives like access to water (the Kirama project), agricultural training and health care improvement (the Avogera Health Centre) and access to education with scholarships, among others.
National content development and involvement is a very important topic that we address permanently in our project. We want to create the right ecosystem for local contractors to grow and learn in order to deliver the highest in-country value.
How is TotalEnergies advancing the country’s goals of decreasing carbon emissions and introducing renewables into the energy mix?
The Tilenga Project falls within the company’s strategy to develop resources with low carbon intensity. The project design has integrated the best available technologies and as a result it has less than 10 kilograms of carbon dioxide per barrel of oil, which is far below the average for oil and gas developments.
Furthermore, LPG extraction from the produced gas of Tilenga will be an opportunity to change local cooking habits from the current use of charcoal and therefore reduce pressure on the environment.
As a multi-energy company, we are ready to support Uganda in diversifying its energy mix. We’ve signed an MoU on renewables with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development in order to identify potential partnerships to further develop green technologies. We hope to announce some projects before the end of 2022.
The oil and gas sector has the potential to boost economic development in Uganda. Engagement with all stakeholders is key for success.
What do you see as the main driver of Uganda’s recent success?
Uganda’s success story comes first from its stability. Focusing more on the oil and gas sector, Ugandan authorities have taken the time to put a very robust regulatory framework in place prior to entering into the development phase. The recent decision to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is an important step to transparently measure and share the positive impact of this sector on the economy.