French energy giant Total on Monday detailed steps it would take to mitigate the environmental and human impact from its Tilenga project in Uganda and a multibillion-dollar pipeline carrying oil from the country to Tanzania.
Total and its partner China National Offshore Oil Corporation plan to exploit oil reserves in Lake Albert in Uganda and construct a $3.5-billion East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) to neighbouring Tanzania for export.
Environmental groups argue that the pipeline will threaten local communities, water supplies and biodiversity in both countries.
Total said on Monday it would voluntarily limit the Tilenga project's footprint within Uganda's Murchison Falls park.
While current permits cover nearly 10% of the park, development will be limited to less than 1% of its surface area, and undeveloped regions will be voluntarily relinquished without delay, the statement said.
Total will provide support to increase by 50% the number of rangers ensuring the preservation of Murchison Falls park, and support a program to reintroduce the black rhinoceros in Uganda in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
It said it would also work closely with The International Union for Conservation of Nature to protect chimpanzees, particularly by promoting the conservation of forest habitats.
The Tilenga and EACOP projects require the acquisition of 6,400 hectares of land, on which the primary residences of 723 households are located.
Each of these households will be given the choice between a new house or monetary compensation. The first 29 households, residing on the Tilenga Central Processing Facility site, have all elected to receive a new house, Total said.