Uganda: Oil firms ordered to turn lights off in national parks

18 October 2015, Kampala – Just so the animals in national parks can have uninterrupted sessions of mating, the National Environment Management Authority has asked oil companies to drill during the day and keep their lights off.

Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda.

Irene Muloni, Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development

This rule is part of a wide range of directives that Nema has issued to companies to limit the impact of the oil activities within the national parks.

“In order to further protect the environment, Nema has issued new rules to oil companies operating in the national parks. Today oil companies will drill during the day and we have told them not to drill at night. And they have to switch off all the lights at night because light at night stops animals from mating and this could limit the reproduction cycle,” Tom Okurut, the executive director of Nema, said. He was speaking at a workshop organised by the Economic Policy Research Centre on the challenges that oil presents to the country’s environment at Serena hotel.

Uganda has so far discovered 6.5 billion barrels of oil in less than half the area thought to be rich in oil. A number of the wells are found in sensitive ecosystems. For example, wells such as Jobi and Ngege, are found within the Murchison Falls national park.

The government has already come up with an oil-spill contingency plan, which will guide the country in the event of a spill. Total E&P, the company operating in the main sensitive areas of the Albertine graben, has promised to keep responsible in its activities, using equipment that the animals will feel comfortable with.


  • The Observer
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